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Full text of "Ralph Adams Cram as College Architect: An Historicist's Approach"

Presented by 

Sarah Drunmond Lanford 

SWEET 

BRIAR 

COLLEGE 

LIBRARY 




19(>;;0t> 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/ralphadamscramasOOIanf 



RALPH ADAMS CRAM AS COLLEGE ARCHITECT: 
AN HISTORICIST'S APPROACH 



Sarah Drummond Lanford 



A.B. , Smith College 



A Thesis Presented to the Faculty 
of the Division of Architectural History 
of the School of Architecture 
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree 
Master of Architectural History 



School of Architecture 
University of Virginia 



May 19 81 
1 




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Table of Contents 

List of Illustrations iii 

Introduction 1 

Chapter I - Ralph Adams Cram: Background and 

Philosophies 5 

Chapter II - Quads, Rows, Parks, and Plans 14 

Chapter III - Sweet Briar Institute: A Campus 

Rusticus 28 

Chapter IV - "A Gothic Epitome" ■ 58 

Conclusion 96 

Notes 100 

Bibliography 114 

Illustrations 



List of Illustrations 

Frontispiece. Ralph Adams Cram. (from Cram. My Life in Architec-| 
ture. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1936.) 

1. The Colonnade. Washington & Lee University, Lexington, 
Virginia. 

2. Early Plan, South Carolina College. (from Bryan, John 
Morrill. An Architectural History of the South Carolina 
College , 1801-1855 . Columbia: University of South 
Carolina Press, 1976.) 

3. Original Development Plan, William M. Rice Institute, 
Houston. Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson. (from Ralph Adams 
Cram Collection, Department of Prints and Photographs, Boston 
Public Library. Hereafter cited as BPL.) 

4. Lovett Hall, Administration Building, William M. Rice 
Institute, Houston. Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson. (from 
Maginnis, Charles D. , ed. , The Work of Cram and Ferguson 
Architects . New York: The Pencil Points Press, 1929.) 

5. Original Development Plan, Sweet Briar Institute, 1902-03. 
Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson. (from Clark, Nexson & Owen, 
"Historical Development of the Campus of Sweet Briar College," 
Sweet Briar College , Sweet Briar , Virginia , Campus Planning , 
Vol. I, 1963.) Hereafter cited as Clark, Nexson & Owen.) 

6. Original Campus Perspective, 1902-03. Cram, Goodhue and 
Ferguson. (from Clark, Nexson & Owen.) 

7. Proposal for an arcade, view from the Refectory to the 
southeast. Sweet Briar College. Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson, 
(from. Sweet Briar College Archives.) 

8. Sweet Briar College dormitories. 

9. Sweet Briar College dormitory interior. 

10. Cupola, Sweet Briar College. 

11. The Refectory, Sweet Briar College. 

12. Academic, Sweet Briar College. 



13. Fletcher Hall, Sweet Briar College. 

14. 1928 Development Plan, Sweet Briar College. (from Clark, 
Nexson & Owen. ) 

15. Mary Helen Cochran Library, exterior, Sweet Briar College. 

16. Mary Helen Cochran Library, Reading Room, Sweet Briar 
College . 

17. Mary Helen Cochran Library, ceiling of Reading Room, 
Sweet Briar College. 

18. Proposal for a gymnasium. Sweet Briar College, Cram and 
Ferguson (from BPL. ) 

19. Proposal for a chapel, interior, Sweet Briar College. 
Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson. (from BPL.) 

20. 1940 Development Plan. Sweet Briar College. Cram and 
Ferguson. (from Clark, Nexson & Owen.) 

21. 1950 Development Plan. Sweet Briar College. Cram and 
Ferguson. (from Clark, Nexson & Owen.) 

22. 1906 Campus Map, Princeton University. (from General 
Catalogue of Princeton University , 1746-1906 . Princeton: 
Princeton University, 1908.) 

23. 1906 Development Plan, Princeton University. Ralph Adams 
Cram. (from The American Architect, 96, 21 July 1909, d. 
22.) 

24. McCormick Hall, Princeton University, Cram and Ferguson. 

(from BPL. ) 

25. McCormick Hall, Princeton University, western elevation. 

26. Proposal for Graduate College, Exhibit A. Cram, Goodhue 
and Ferguson. (from The American Architect , 96, 21 July 
1909, p. 26.) 

27. Plan of Graduate College. Princeton University. Cram, 
Goodhue and Ferguson. (from Maginnis, The Work of Cram 
and Ferguson . ) 

28. Procter Hall, Princeton University, southern elevation. 

29. Procter Hall, Princeton University, western elevation. 

30. Residential Quadrangle, Thomson Graduate College, 
Princeton University. 

iv 



31. Cleveland Tower, Thomson Graduate College, Princeton 
University. 

32. Procter Hall, Princeton University, interior, looking west. 

33. Procter Hall, Princeton University, interior, looking east, 

34. Procter Hall, Princeton University, interior, choir screen. 

35. Procter Hall, Princeton University, common room. 

36. Wyman House, Princeton University, southern elevation. 

37. Proposal for a chapel, Princeton University, Alexander 
Hoyle. (from BPL. ) 

38. Proposal for a chapel with tower, Princeton University. 

(from BPL. ) 

39. Proposal for a chapel with tower, Princeton University, 
(from BPL. ) 

40. Proposal for a chapel with turret, Princeton University, 
(from BPL. ) 

41. Proposal for a chapel, Princeton University, Alexander 
Hoyle. (from BPL. ) 

42. University Chapel, Princeton University, north portal. 

43. University Chapel, Princeton University, south portal. 

44. University Chapel, Princeton University, western portal. 

45. University Chapel, Princeton University, tympanum. 

46. Rothschild Arch, Princeton University. 



Introduction 

The collegiate architecture and planning of Ralph Adams Cram 
reveal the architect as an historicist, not just the Gothic 
Revivalist he is most often considered. Cram is an histori- 
cist in his use of traditional styles of architecture, and 
his belief that such styles are appropriate for tradition- 
based institutions such as the school, the church and the 
home. He worked in the Georgian, Spanish and military 
Gothic styles, in addition to the collegiate Gothic style. 
Cram's designs for the Rice Institute represent an inter- 
mingling of historical influences, and do not fit any of 
of these categories. 

Cram believed that it was very important to use a 
traditional architectural style at an educational institution, 
because that style imparted the heritage and values on which 
the institution was based. He wrote in 1932 that ". . .a 
part of our philosoohy of art was that the old and eternal 
things, of which education was as much one as was the Church, 
sim.ply had, by their very nature, to preserve the sense of 
continuity and show in its very forms not only its close 
linking up with the past but its high place above whim and 
changing fashion."^ Cram followed this philosophy on each 
campus where he worked. 



2 

According to each institution's history, traditions and 
locale, Cram chose a style in which to work. The United 
States Military Academy is, consequently, quite different 
from Rice Institute. The same method for choosing the style 
of an entire campus was employed when choosing the style of 

a building. Cram's philosophy was "to fit each several 

3 

building to its tradition, purpose, and geographic place." 

Hence, one finds a Spanish influence in Knowles Chapel at 
Rollins College in Florida, Georgian for the buildings at 
Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and Gothic for the chapel 
at the Episcopal-affiliated University of the South in Tennes- 
see. Each campus or building was considered individually, 
its history and traditions guiding the choice of style. 
Cram was acquainted with a number of architectural 
styles. Early m his career, he began making trips to Europe 
and to Great Britain. Knowledge gained from these trips 
facilitated his borrowing motifs and combining them, to 
produce original architectural compositions. Cram might 
combine the national variations of one style (such as the 
French, Spanish and English Gothic elements seen at Princeton 
University) , or elements of several different styles (as he 
did at Rice Institute). In a review of Cram's autobiography, 
My Life in Architecture , Nancy Millette portrayed Cram's 
eclecticism as what would be expected of a man of his period. 
'Apparently eclecticism is inevitable in an artist of Mr. Cram's 
era, temper and breed; and one becomes sure that it makes the 
man no less great. Such a man is so immersed in history 



and tradition that what we may call his intuitive creative 

impulses find outlet only through the filter of acquired 

4 
intellectual knowledge." 

While there are numerous stylistic differences between 

the campuses, Cram's campus plans share a striking similarity 

in their organization. The plans are ordered along vistas; 

the campuses divided by axes. Cram's desire for an orderly 

campus was not affected by its style. He imposed recognizable 

plans on campuses of any style. 

The reasons that Cram made the decisions he did regarding 
his collegiate work were seldom simple. Cram was governed 
by his personal philosophies, and his own strong sense of 
history and tradition, in addition to the needs and wishes 
of the schools which hired him. This is especially visible 
at Princeton University. More often than not though, a 
combination of these factors figured in Cram's decision- 
making, often obscuring the individual components. 

Cram's own writings provide the basis for discerning 
his philosophy. His autobiography, and num.erous articles 
in Pencil Points , The Architectural Record , The American 
Architect and The Princeton Alumni Weekly , have provided 
much of the material found in this paper. The penetrating 
work of Robert Muccigrosso, American Gothic : The Mind and 
Art of Ralph Adams Cram, is analytical and objective, and 
very helpful. The Princeton University Archives in the 
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, the Mary Helen Cochran 



4 

Library, and the President's Office at Sweet Briar College 
provided information on Cram's involvement at each school. 

This paper will examine Cram's work at two schools for 
which he was Supervising Architect: Princeton University, 
where he held the oosition from 1907 until 1929, and Sweet 
Briar College, 1901-1942. For both schools Cram devised 
development plans, and at Sweet Briar he designed the original 
buildings. The circumstances precipitating stylistic decisions 
for each campus will be reviewed. As Princeton was already 
a well-established campus when Cram went there to work, 
considerations and problems of very different sorts were 
encountered there than at Sweet Briar. How Cram dealt with 
these will be examined, as will be his development plans 
and goals for the institutions. Through their differences 
and their similarities, one can gain insight into Ralph 
Adams Crcim's architectural and educational philosophies, 
and his ideals for campus planning. 



CHAPTER I 

Ralph Adams Cram: 

Background and Philosophies 

Ralph Adams Cram is very much a product of the nineteenth 
century. This is not merely because he was born in 186 3 and 
grew up in the Victorian era, though this of course influenced 
him. It is Cram's philosophies and convictions that m.ark him 
as a man of the nineteenth century. Cram's beliefs were 
based strongly in traditions, and while avant garde architects 
and philosophers of the early twentieth century denied recent 
architectural history, and looked to other sources for their 
inspiration. Cram remained keenly aware of the place of 
history in architecture. This forms the foundation of his 
own architectural work. In order to understand Cram and his 
work, one must be acquainted with his background and the 
factors that influenced him. 

While Cram's architectural achievements are legion, his 
undertakings do not stop there. Cram authored almost two 
dozen books and scores of articles, whose topics range from 
socioeconomic reform to art and literature, he participated 
in the founding and/or editing of several journals, and tried 
his hand at song and verse. In 1914 Cram became the head of 
the Architecture Department at Massachusetts Institute of 



6 ■ 

Technology, and Chairman of the newly formed Boston City 
Planning Commission. Both of these positions he relinquished 

after seven years, due to the influx of work at his archi- 

2 

tectural office. He was given honorary doctorate degrees by 

Princeton, Yale, VJilliams, Rollins and Notre Dame, and was 
made an honorary Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard. Among his pro- 
fessional credits, he was inducted into the American Academy 
of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Royal Society of Arts. 
He was called a "phenomenon" by a contemporary, and seems to 

have been regarded as such, because it was difficult to 

4 
understand how one man could accomplish so much. 

V7hat seems equally as extraordinary by today's standards 
is how much Cram achieved having had as little formal educa- 
tional background as he did. Upon his graduation from high 
school in Exeter, New Hampshire, Cram's father chose a 
vocation for his son, not a college. As the elder Cram was 
a retired Unitarian minister, he could not afford a college 
education for his son. Ralph had shown interests in art and 
in constructing and arranging paper houses as a boy. His 
parents encouraged him in this activity, and gave him an 1873 
edition of House Building by C. J. Richardson, and Ruskin ' s 
The Stones of Venice and The Seven Lamps of Architecture . 
Through parental encouragement and independent study, Cram 
could later write that he had "three full years in close 
contact with good architecture and inspiring artistic theory 
before being plunged in the infusion of false principles, 
horrid methods, and shocking bad taste that marked American 



7 

architecture and architectural oractice in the year 1881." 

It was during 1881 that Cram began his architectural 
apprenticeship, the only professional training he was ever to 
have, in the office of Arthur Rotch and George Tilden. Rotch 
and Tilden had one of the most active architectural practices 
in New England. Their work included residences, schools and 
public buildings from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Cram 
spent five years with the firm, ". . .with no appreciative 
results, either one way or another, except a steady magnify- 
ing of my critical attitude towards the sort of work in which 
I was permitted to engage." Cram was critical of projects 
which came out of the office, an attitude which he felt to be 
beneficial, as it indicated that he would not slip into easy 
acceptance of the office solutions. Rather, Cram, often 
tested his own solutions when he did not find favor with 
those of the office. 

Cram did not confine his criticism to the work of Rotch 
and Tilden. He referred to the fifty year period 1830-80 as 
the "black fifty years of American architecture," and wrote 
that from 1830 on "nothing good, except sporadically, came 
into existence, and for fifty years architecture in America 
fell to a lower level than history had ever before recorded." 
He recognized individual architects of the late nineteenth 
century, the American Institute of Architects, and the 
growing number and quality of the schools of architecture 
as pulling American architecture from what Cram considered 

Q 

its abysmal depths. 



3 

Cram believed that this fifty year period in American 

architecture was responsible for the architectural climate 
of his own day. There was not one style which predominated 
the entire field in the early twentieth century. Cram 
attributed this eclectic approach to architecture as the 
result of a lack, of a strong architectural tradition, which 
had consequently deprived architects of "all native and sub- 
conscious impulse. ..." The "quite unexampled architectural 

degeneracy had undermined any inherited taste we might have 

9 
had." Cram thought that the flourishing of several styles, 

and architects designing in more than one of these, was 
the natural outcome of the preceding period. 

Early in his career, after five years with Rotch and 
Tilden, Cram was not convinced of his own role in the course 
of the nation's architectural development. The young archi- 
tect's letters to the editor of The Boston Transcript secured 
for him the position of art critic with that paper, and Cram 
considered a career change to journalism. With money won 
from a design competition and the promise of having lerters 
from his travels published, Cram embarked on his first trip 
to Europe in 1886. On this occasion, he went to England, 
France and Italy, then to Bayreuth, Germany, for the Wagner 
Festival. Upon his return Cram supported himself with his 
writings, a foray into interior decorating, and like odd 
jobs on the fringes of the artistic realm. A second trip to 
Europe, this time to serve as tutor to a friend's child. 



commenced in 1388 and was to be of more long-lasting 
significance than the first visit. Though the tutoring 
position proved unsatisfactory, Cram made the acquaintance 
of a young American who rekindled his interest in architec- 
ture and introduced him to the Anglican church. The man was 
T. Henry Randall; their friendship resulted in Cram's conver- 
sion to Anglicanism and the subsequent formation of much of 
his personal philosophy. For the remainder of 1888 and into 
the spring of 1889, Cram travelled with Randall through Italy 
and Sicily, sketching as he went. When Cram returned to the 
United States in 1889, he had determined to resume the . 
practice of architecture. 

Shortly after his return to Boston, Cram set up a 
partnership with Charles Francis Wentworth, who had been 
recommended to Cram for his sound judgment and common sense. 
Their first commission paid quite well, but in design was 
removed from the Italian churches and palazzi Cram had so ■ 
recently seen. For $600, Cram and Wentworth were commissioned 
to remodel a tenement house in Brighton for a wholesale 
liquor dealer. Residential work in and around Boston 
constituted their early practice, many in the English half- 
timbered style which was then becoming popular. Cram, however, 
had set his goals in a field other than domestic architecture. 
For the first ten years of his practice. Cram concentrated 
on ecclesiastical architecture and established himself in 
this field. 



10 

The decision to enter the field of ecclesiastical archi- 
tecture was more than likely motivared by mental and 
spiritual convictions. His early reading of • Pugin and Ruskin , 
his travels in England and Europe and his religious conver- 
sion led Cram to believe that Gothic was the most appropriate 
style for, churches (especially for Roman Catholic and 
Episcopal churches), and educational institutions. By late 
1891, Cram and Wentworth had secured their first ecclesiastical 
commission for the Episcopal All Saints', Ashmont , Dorchester. 
Cram's work was deemed a great success. While the exterior 
of the church expressed its massing and composition, the 
interior was treated more lavishly. Cram commissioned 
artisans, with whom he continued to work in later years, for 
much of the interior work, including J. Kirchmayer for wood- 
work and later, Charles Connick for the stained glass. 
Such a successful effort enhanced the young architect's 
reputation locally, and commissions for Christ Church at 
Hyde Park, Newtonville ' s Swedenborgian church and Brockton's 
St. Paul's Church were soon theirs. 

The early 1890' s were professionally successful for 
Cram. His practice was growing and gaining a name for 
itself in the Boston area. Even so, it remains somewhat 
unclear today as to how a young draughtsman looking for a 

firm with which to associate himself came to Cram and Went- 

12 
worth. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue had won a design 

competition for a Dallas, Texas, cathedral, and because 



11 

of the size of the undertaking was locking for an established 
firm with an ecclesiastical background with which to colla- 
borate. Hired as first draughtsman in 1891, Goodhue was made 
a full partner in 1895 and remained associated with Cram 
until 1913. During the course of Goodhue's affiliation with 
Cram the firm flourished, producing ecclesiastical, collegiate 
and domestic designs, honing their Gothic proficiencies in 
many works. While Cram preferred English- and French-derived 
Gothic forms , Goodhue was more adventurous , experimenting 
with other variations, periods and styles. Goodhue's talents 
and those of Cram were sufficiently different to allow the 
two to compliment one another. 

Cram realized that his own abilities were not all- 
inclusive and analyzed them as such: "What ability I had 
stopped short at one very definite point. I could see any 
architectural problem in its mass, proportion, composition, 
and articulation, and visualize it in three dimensions 
even before I set pencil to paper. I had also the faculty 
of planning, and I generally blocked out all our designs at 
quarter-scale. There my ability ceased. I had neither the 
power nor the patience to work out any sort of decorative 
detail." Among the most distinguishing features of Cram's 
works are their composition and massing. His special talent 
was not for decorative detail. However, Cram slights 
Goodhue's abilities in the former statement, by insinuating 
that Cram did all the design work, leaving only the finishing 



12 

touches for Goodhue. Goodhue was a master of draughting and 
decorative detail, and was more the artist of the two. Cram 
used Goodhue's talents to show that the revived styles they 
often used were not dead, but still having life could be 
revitalized. " He referred to Goodhue as his alter ego, and 
also credited Goodhue's inventiveness with preventing him 
from becoming too archaeological. 

Cram stressed that he had no intention to archaeologically 
copy details or entire structures in his use of historic archi- 
tectural styles. Neither did he hold any admiration for such 
reproductions. This he found to be the greatest problem with 
the earlier American Gothic Revivalists; they "'not only copy 
the deficiencies as well as the beauties [of medieval Gothic], 
but they make modern necessities conform to Gothic forms . It 
does not seem,' wrote Cram, 'as though such servile copying 
is true art. '" Cram hoped to imbue his works in all 
styles with an air of modernity in order that the historic 
forms could serve modern needs. This is true on Gothic 
campuses such as Princeton, or Georgian-inspired campuses, 
such as Sweet Briar College. Cram and Goodhue's designs for 
Rice Institute are the antithesis of archaeology. There, 
many influences and materials were combined to fulfill the 
particular needs of that school. Cram felt that the Rice 
work was particularly modern in aspect. "I am prepared to 

offer it as a sane and logical type of 'Modernism' better. . . 

1 fi 
than much of that which bears the name. ..." At each 



13 

school, various elements and motifs are combined. 

Cram's historicist approach to architecture is seen 
particularly well in his collegiate work. The following 
chapter traces the history of collegiate architecture and 
planning in America, so as to establish a framework in 
which to see Cram's work. 



CHAPTER II 
Quads, Rows, Parks, and Plans 

The ghanging philosophies of architectural style and 
planning have found physical expression on the grounds of 
American college campuses. The approach to collegiate 
architecture grew more sophisticated until the simple 
symmetrical groupings, and rows of detached buildings, became 
architectural compositions governed by axial vistas or the 
disposition around courtyards. Georgian and Federal buildings 
gave way to a proliferation of nineteenth century styles. 

Ralph Adams Cram's description of early American colle- 
giate architecture was that the "buildings make their appeal 
through their fine proportions and their frank simplicity." 
While it was not great architecture, "it was honest and 
sincere. ..." The first college buildings in America were 
simple, and in many regards were over-sized domestic con- 
structions. Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale were housed 
in large brick buildings, stylistically akin to their 
domestic prototypes. Founders of the colleges were forced 
to choose a style and building type they could easily con- 
struct and afford. Therefore, the original buildings of 
America's colleges founded in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries were largely simple Georgian, or later Federal, in 
style. 



15 

The earliest institutions were often housed in one 

building, which served many purposes. When funds were avail- 
able, additional structures were added. There were two 
arrangements most commonly used in locating additional 
buildings: quadrangular or linear. While the quadrangle is 
introspective, the linear plan is not. Schools which chose 
the quadrangle based their schemes on those of Oxford and 
Cambridge Universities. While the medieval English quadrangle 
was usually composed of contiguous buildings, the American 
interpretation featured detached structures. A late nine- 
teenth century analogy of this was that the unified English 
collegiate buildings were "like a group of Anglican communi- 
ties under a bishop," while their detached American cousins 

more closely resembled "Congregational churches under the 

2 

early ecclesiastical polity of New England." The linear 

arrangement was also composed of detached buildings, all in 
a row. This scheme has come to be known as the row plan. 

The buildings of Harvard College were originally arranged 
in an open quadrangle. The buildings faced an area which 
became known as the Yard. Structures stood on three sides 
of the Yard, the fourth side was left open to the town of 
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Space was left between the 
buildings to allow for the passage of traffic. It is thought 
that the emphasis on the individuality of each building and 

the concept of the open plan reflected the puritanical and 

3 

individualistic philosophy of the college fathers. 



16 

Harvard's open quadrangle is a primary example of this type 

of planning and proved influential in the architectural 
development of other institutions. 

The first American school to employ the row plan was 
Yale College, which adhered to this policy from 1750 to 1850. 
A number of buildings were placed on a north-south axis, 
parallel to College Street, while the Athenaeum, Lyceum and 
Chapel were interspersed on an east-west orientation. The 
college buildings formed a solid face to the New Haven town 
green. In 1792 John Trumbull, who had designed three of the 
row buildings, executed a plan for Yale's expansion around 
three sides of the town green. The plan is essentially the 
traditional New England town plan, which would have concep- 
tually opened Yale College to the town. For a variety of 
reasons, the scheme was never realized. The original linear 
composition persisted, and served as a model for other colleges 

Following the example set by Yale, many schools, 
especially those in the northeast, built on the row plan. 

It became the most popular plan for campus growth prior to 

4 
the Civil War. Amherst, Williams and Dartmouth Colleges, 

Brown, Wesleyan and Washington and Lee Universities, and 

the University of Vermont were originally organized according 

to the row plan. The Amherst College buildings centered 

around Johnson Chapel, with flanking dormitory /classroom 

buildings at right angles to the chapel, an arrangement very 

similar to that of Yale's. Dartmouth apparently fluctuated 



17 

between an open quadrangular arrangement and the row plan. 
Between 1827-29, two buildings forming an open quadrangle 
around Dartmouth Hall (1784-91) were razed, and buildings 
were erected in a row. Dartmouth Hall was the center of the 
composition, as Johnson Chapel was at Amherst, and as Washing- 
ton Hall was at- Washington College, which later became 
Washington and Lee University. (Plate 1) The open quad- 
rangle was reinstated at Dartmouth with the construction of 

g 
Reed Hall, 1839-40. The widespread use of the row plan 

refutes the theory that early American colleges were randomly 

laid out. The row, as well as the quadrangle composed of 

detached buildings, ordered the developm.ent of these first 

colleges. 

South Carolina College, in Columbia, represents a 

combination of the row plan and the open quadrangle. It was 

determined that "'instead of the Building of one continued 

Front reported by the Committee, their shall be two Buildings 

fronting each other, at such a Distance apart, as will be 

suitable to the Land to be procured (say) not exceeding Three 

hundred feet. . . .'" It was proposed that the president's 

house be at the head of the composition, facing the lawn 

enclosed by the first two buildings. A long allee was 

developed along the central axis, which emphasized the 

linear nature and clarity of the plan. The campus developed 

according to this original scheme, which is called the 

"Horseshoe." (Plate 2 ) 



18 
Formal plans for American educational institutions did 
not appear until the first quarter of the nineteenth century. 
The two most significant schemes were those of Union College 
in Schenectady, New York, and the University of Virginia in 
Charlottesville. At the request of the college president, 
the French engineer Joseph Jacques Ramee executed a plan for 
Union College in 1813. It was a three-sided, open-ended 
composition. At the head of the plan was a semi-circular 
range, in front of which was the focal point, a round building, 
possibly like Jefferson's University of Virginia Rotunda. 
Detached structures flanking the semi-circular range defined 
the beginnings of two rows of similarly detached buildings. 
North and South Colleges, and North and South Colonnades, were 

g 

the first of these detached structures to be built. The 
plan was more grand and sophisticated than any heretofore 
proposed for an American campus. The plan is significant 
in its organization and in the combination of semi-circular 
and rectangular forms. That the school had a plan for its 
physical plant, and was built accordingly, is significant 
and cannot be overlooked. 

Thomas Jefferson's plan for the University of Virginia 
elaborates further on the open-ended three-sided composition. 
The plan consists of rows of contiguous buildings, as would 
an English college, but in its concept and use of forms it is 
far more French. While Jefferson was ambassador to France, 
he became well acquainted with French architecture and 



19 
planning. The physical and symbolic focus on the volumetric 
Rotunda, the symmetrical arrangement of pavilions hyphenated 
by low colonnades and students' rooms, the falling away of 
the lawn to the vista beyond, all bespeak influence of French 
planning.. Jefferson established himself as a superintendent 
of buildings and grounds, and the University gained its 
homogeneity from the successful completion of his plan. It 
was the most comprehensive and cohesive arrangement to be 
planned and built. That alone would have assured its 
prominence. But since Jefferson imbued his work with 
symbolic and didactic qualities , in choosing the orders for 
each pavilion from ancient buildings and monuments, for 
example, the significance of the plan was increased beyond 
that of any other collegiate design. The plan of the 
University of Virginia is a milestone in American collegiate 
architecture . 

Cram thought Jefferson's chosen style of architecture 
decadent and pompous, describing the buildings as having 
"unnecessarily unreasonable classical porticoes with columns, 
entabulatures , and pediments complete--and all built of pine 

boards framed up in the semblence of a newly discovered 

9 
paganism. ..." However, he acknowledged that the plan 

possessed great dignity. Cram later employed, aspects of the 

University of Virginia plan in his work at Sweet Briar College 

Few American Colleges had architectural development 

plans, and in only rare instances were a majority of a 



20 

college's buildings constructed at one time. Most schools 
were financially unable to realize their schemes in one 
building campaign. Slow physical growth in the second half 
of the nineteenth century often resulted in campuses 
exhibiting a variety of architectural styles. It was not 
uncommon on the American campus to see the additive effects 
of French Romanesque with Italian Gothic, adjacent to an 
institution's earlier Federal building. Brown University, 
Williams College and the University of Pennsylvania are 
examples of campuses with buildings representing a variety of 
nineteenth century styles. Planning of this period was less 
regular and ordered than it had been in the eighteenth and 
early nineteenth centuries. Schuyler commented of nineteenth 
century Harvard, "the successive buildings, as they accrued, 
have been put wherever they would go without any thought 
whatever of their relation to one another." He continued, 
"There is no grouping, there are no vistas. No building 
borrows any increase of attractiveness from any other, nor 
lends any to it." The Yard, he thought, had been "converted 
into a mighty maze and all without a plan." 

The landscape park, as employed and popularized by 
Frederick Law Olmsted, seemed a likely setting for buildings 
which were physically, and often stylistically, unrelated. 
Olmsted devised a plan for the University of California at 
Berkeley, in which a group of buildings overlooked a landscape 
park. The picturesque outweighed the formal elements in this 



21 

scheme. The College of New Jersey also began to assume its 

park-like setting during this period. The landscape pro- 
vided the compositional framework for the college buildings. 

A second California project on which Olmsted worked 
represented a divergence from the landscape park scheme. 
Olmsted was commissioned, with the architectural firm of 
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge , to lay out the grounds and 
buildings of the Leland Stanford, Jr. University in Palo 
Alto, California. Olmsted's vision of a naturalistic, pic- 
turesque, setting for the school was not shared by the 
Stanfords. The Stanfords had made several trips to Europe 
and with ideas shaped by their travels, wanted a formal, 
grandiose scheme to transform theix country estate into a 
seat of learning in memory of their son. It required many 
planning sessions and revisions to reach a solution acceptable 
to those involved. The resulting design denotes a new 
development in campus planning. The University was given a 
kind of quad plan: contiguous buildings opened onto a large 
central square. Beyond this another larger arcade encircled 
the whole group. The plan provided for future building in 

similar arcaded quadrangles. An important aspect of the 

12 
Stanford plan was the closed quadrangles. 

Stanford University and Trinity College in Hartford, 
Connecticut, represent two significant late nineteenth cen- 
tury efforts at comprehensive planning. Trinity, like 
Stanford, was built on a new site, designed by one architect. 



22 

and intended to follow a quad plan. Trinity was the first 
American collegiate Gothic campus in which the medieval 
English quadrangle was employed. As designed in 1373 by 
English architect William Burgess, the school had several 
quads in the collegiate Gothic style of Oxford and Cambridge. 
Unlike the English institutions, Trinity's design was sym- 
metrical, but it did exhibit a variety of detail. By 1897, 
however, only one-sixth of the plan had been realized, and 
it was not long before the scheme was abandoned, largely for 
financial reasons, for the American plan of detached buildings, 

The significance of the University of Virginia, Stanford 
University, and Trinity College is that each institution began 
with a comprehensive plan for its new site and buildings, and 
that the latter two schools had development plans for the 
future. Into the 1800s such planning was the exception, not 
the rule. 

The theory that campuses should have development plans 
did not become widespread until the turn of the century. 
Literature of the early twentieth century strongly expressed 
the need for such a plan. It was thought that plans gave 
guidance in solving architectural problems and in the 
acquisition of new properties. Such concerns were abetted 
by the Columbia Exposition of 1893, which has become 
synonomous with symmetry, axial vistas, and classical 
proportions. In commenting on the necessity of a school's 
adhering to a plan, one twentieth century observer wrote 



23 
that the 1893 fair "certainly made plain the virtues of 
orderly arrangement. ..." The lesson to be learned from 
the exposition was "the salvation that lies in following an 

intelligent and comprehensive prearranged plan for the dis- 

14 
position and appearance of future buildings." In the same 

year, near the fairgrounds, Henry Ives Cobb designed the 

University of Chicago, which was to be composed of six orderly 

quadrangles. 

The campuses of Columbia University and New York Univer- 
sity, by McKim, Mead and White, were laid out according to 
principles popularized by the Columbia Exposition. Classical 
proportions and orderly plans distinguish each campus. A 
central feature for each is the Library, around which other 
buildings are symmetrically disposed. The Columbia structures 
are united on a raised stone podium. Cram described Columbia 
as standing "as the noblest type of the pure classical idea, 
and its majestical Library will always remain a national 
monument." The two campuses represent the classical ideal 
in style, as well as in plan. 

The expressed intent of development plans was that 
campuses should no longer be architectural hodgepodges , but 
rather, they should exhibit some sort of unity. This con- 
sistency need not be stylistic mimicry, but the buildings 
should be designed in reference to one another. The idea 
that conformity of style would produce a visually harmonious 
campus was employed with enthusiasm. 



24 

The style chosen for campus development often depended 
on the historical tradition of the school or area, geography, 
available building materials, or the purpose of the institu- 
tion. While various regions of the country differ substan- 
tially enough to warrant the flourishing of different archi- 
tectural styles, those chosen most often by early twentieth 
century architects were Georgian and collegiate Gothic. With 
each is associated a heritage, one admittedly far older than 
the other, but both connote an association with the past, with 
learning of by-gone days. The collegiate Gothic recalls 
Oxford and Cambridge, associating its American users with 
educational traditions which they had also adopted. 

Gothic architecture made its debut at Yale in 1842 in the 
library, which A. J. Davis designed, as well as in his 1853 
Alumni Hall. Russell Sturgis ' work there through the 1870 's 
and 1880 's established Gothic as the style for Yale's future 
development. By and large, collegiate Gothic was not 
widely employed until the close of the nineteenth century. 
The Philadelphia firm of Cope and Stewardson executed some 
of the most influential examples of collegiate Gothic 
architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr 
College and Princeton University. At the University of 
Pennsylvania, a dormitory group and tower were built along 
the lines of English quadrangles. Cope and Stewardson 's 
treatment is an interpretation of English models lauded by 
Ralph Adams Cram for its massing, composition and the 



25 
scholastic feeling which the dormitory groups impart. In 

these buildings. Cram believed the architects established 

themselves as "exponents of architectural poetry and of 

the importance of historical continuity and the connotation 

of scholasticism-. These buildings are among the most remark- 

1 8 
able yet built in America. ..." The work of Cope and 

Stewardson was important in establishing collegiate Gothic 
as a viable architectural style for American colleges. 

Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson first worked in the Gothic 
revival style in collegiate architecture at the United States 
Military Academy at West Point. The firm won a design compe- 
tition for the commission with schemes for military Gothic 
buildings. The buildings rely on their strong, simple massing, 
achieved with the use of native stone, for their effect. The 
architects were praised for their handling of forms , as well 
as for the buildings' suitability to the craggy landscape along 
the Hudson River. Schuyler complimented the "bold picturesque- 

ness and. . .its aspect of even wilful freedom and origin- 

19 
ality. ..." The powerful form.s were appropriate m 

housing a military academy. This illustrated the versatility 

of Gothic Revival architecture in its secular application. 

Occasionally, the choosing of an historic style presented 

difficulty. At the Rice Institute in Houston, Texas, Cram, 

Goodhue and Ferguson were commissioned to design a plan and 

buildings for an entirely new campus. (Plate 3 ) Cram felt 

that in this instance there were no strong native traditions 



26 

to which to turn for inspiration. Such guidance existed at 
West Point, Princeton University and Sweet Briar College, 

"where history, tradition and architectural style pre-deter- 

20 
mined the course to follow," While Cram favored Gothic, 

he did not think it appropriate at Rice. His analysis of 

the problem was that the architects "wanted something that 

was beautiful, if we could make it so. Southern in its spirit, 

and with some quality of continuity with the historic and 

cultural past. Manifestly the only thing to do was to 

invent something approaching a new style (though not too 

21 
new) .... The resultant buildings are combinations of 

Mediterranean styles, which employ a wide variety of colored 

22 
stones, glazed tiles and bronze. (Plate 4 ) Rice Institute 

is one early twentieth century example (the University of 

Colorado work by Day and Klauder being another) of a college 

which did not choose an existing, traditional style for 

future architectural development. The architecture of Rice 

also clearly shows the willingness of the architects to 

design their o\^m style, and their versatility in so doing. 

Among the reasons for the concern with a school's 

aesthetics was the beneficial effect the well-planned college 

had on students. The built environment was thought to have 

a great impact on those who lived and worked th'erein. This 

was largely subconscious, while helping the observer to form 

his ideas of art and culture. A. D. F. Hamlin wrote that to 

spend "four years or more in their halls [having specifically 



27 
mentioned Vassar, Yale, Princeton, Berkeley, Pennsylvania and 

Bryn Mawr] , to worship in their chapels, to be surrounded by 

monuments of good taste and to live in dormitories which are 

models of good planning, comfort and often of charm," could 

not "fail to influence the minds and tastes of their occupants 

23 
for good. ■. . ." Architecture, then, was seen as an inte- 
gral part of the educational process. 

The early twentieth century witnessed the return to an 
emphasis on orderly campus development. The classical, often 
symmetrical, approach employed by the builders of America's 
first colleges was reinstated. The late nineteenth century 
fashion of placing buildings in a landscape oark , and even 
the row plan, gave way to plans inspired by the Beaux-Arts 
classicism of the 1893 Chicago Exhibition, or to a semblance 
of the English collegiate Gothic scheme. Indeed, colleges 
were adopting development plans based on these ideals. The 
traditional nature of places of learning was thought to 
require traditional architectural expression. In addition to 
adding an air of historicity to a campus , a revived architec- 
tural style was thought to enhance the environment of its 
observer. As a young_ and aspiring architect with a strong 
sense of history and tradition, Ralph Adams Cram held strongly 
to these tenets at the outset of the twentieth century. His 
implementation of these beliefs on the campus of Sweet Briar 
College will be examined in the following chapter. 



CHAPTER III 

Sweet Briar Institute: 
A Campus Rusticus 

The first commission which Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson 
received for large-scale collegiate work was at Sweet Briar 
Institute in Amherst County, Virginia. In 1901 a Virginia 
educator, who was familiar with Cram through the latter 's 
writings in the New York Churchman , contacted him about a 
project in Virginia. Dr. J. M. McBryde , of the Virginia 
Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, had been made Chairman 
of the Board of Trustees ' Executive Committee of the newly 
established Sweet Briar Institute. As Chairman, Dr. McBryde 
was "superintendent of the plans, the material, and the 
equipment of the Institute and to be the authoritative 
manager of all the property in the hands of the trustees." 
Impressed by what he had read, McBryde wrote to Cram and 
invited him to Blacksburg to discuss the Sweet Briar project. 
The two travelled to Amherst County and visited the site of 
the new women's college. Cram returned to Boston and drew 
up a set of plans for the Institute, which were submitted to, 
and subsequently approved by, the Board of Trustees. Cram, 
Goodhue and Ferguson thus became the architects of the Sweet 
Briar Institute. 

Cram was responsible for the development plan and early 



29 

buildings of Sweet Briar Institute, which later became Sweet 

Briar College. The style chosen for the new school was 
collegiate Georgian. The plan shows Beaux-Arts influence. 
Cram's overriding goal was for the creation of an organized 
and orderly campus. The general scheme called for one large 
quadrangle, in which several smaller quadrangles and courtyards 
were situated. Cram worked out at least three schemes for 
Sweet Briar College's development while he served as the 
school's architect. Although there are differences in each 
scheme, the clarity and lucidity of plan, and the organization 
of elements remain constant. 

Cram chose the Georgian style for Sweet Briar Institute 

because he felt the style was predetermined by the history and 

2 

architectural tradition of the area. Cram described Vir- 
ginia's Georgian as "ample, courteous and generally aris- 
tocratic," and the architecture of the ante-bellum Southeast 
as the "style that may really be called almost indigenous to 
America." In an address before the Royal Institute of 
British Architects, Cram acknowledged that Georgian had 
"established itself as a determined rival of the 'Oxford 

Mixture,' and some of its products are not only logical and 

4 
lovely, but genuinely scholastic as well." 

The architect was not so generous to the rebirth of the 

style, however. He frequently referred to those Colonial 

Revival buildings which attempted archaeological accuracy 

as "stupid." While he could fully justify reviving Gothic, 



30 
Cram did not support such a renaissance of Georgian archi- 
tecture. This was largely because of Cram's unending belief 
in the symbolism surrounding Gothic architecture, a symbolism 
he found totally lacking in the Georgian period. Yet several 
instances called for the Georgian mode — Wheaton College, 
Norton, Massachusetts, Williams College in Williamstown , Massa- 
chusetts, and the Second Church in Boston. Cram resolved what 
could have been a philosophical dilemma by imbuing Georgian 
motifs with a Gothic spirit. He was determined to take the 
unlearned, but well-intended, attributes of Georgian architec- 
ture "and try to develop them by adding something from the 
emotional and spiritual quality of the earlier Catholic arts." 
Whether or not Cram was able to do this successfully is open 
to debate. As in all his collegiate architecture, his Georgian 
style work was not archaeologically correct in detail, nor 
was it copied from models. 

Cram outlined for Sweet Briar a sophisticated plan. 
(Plate 5 ) The original scheme was for a grand classical 
scheme of seventeen Georgian buildings around a great quad- 
rangle which contained parterres and formal plantings, foun- 
tains and pools. Oval courts were connected by a drive through 
the center of the scheme. Access to the drive was provided 
on only the western and southern sides. While it was not 
symmetrical, the plan was formal and axial. The eastern 
side of the campus was designed to be largely residential; 
the western side dominated by academic buildings. As one 



31 
progressed from east to west, the change from dormitory to 

academic buildings was to be marked by an oval roundabout, 
which was flanked with small domed pavilions. A cluster of 
four dorms occupied each corner of the eastern section. Each 
dormitory group was to be bilaterally symmetrical. The ori- 
ginal plan, was to accommodate 400 students, 50 to a dorm. 
At the center of the northeastern group was the Refectory. 
An arcade connected the dining hall with the dormitory to 
either side. From the Refectory a drive led to the south, a 
vista of farmland beyond. At right angles to this drive was 
the central axis which stretched the length of the campus. 
At the eastern end of the central axis was the chapel. 
Colonnades were planned to connect the chapel Vv'ith the dormi- 
tories to either side. The chapel was thus firmly integrated 
into the fabric of the campus, much as a medieval scholastic 
chapel might have been interconnected with the surrounding 
buildings. Depending on one's vantage point, the Refectory 
and chapel were the focal points of the eastern end of the 
composition. 

The central building of the academic group was to be 
Commencement Hall, with its pedimented portico facing south. 
In the renderings , the dome of Commencement Hall was the 
focal point of the surrounding buildings, as was the chapel 
steeple to the east. (Plate 5 ) Located to the north of 
the intersection of two major axes, the building was the most 
distinctive of the ensemble. To the east of the hall was 



32 
the Academic Building; to the west was to be the Art Building. 
Opposite Commencement to the south was a large semi-circular 
court, on the underside of the hill, reached by a series of 
descending stairs. A vista to the southwest was created by 
this arrangement. To the east of this court was the Gymnasium; 
to the west, a Science Building. The western end of the com- 
position was formed by two buildings, the Industrial Building 
and the Library. Between the two buildings an oval drive 
encircled a forecourt. This drive was to be the main entrance 
to the campus. Since the nearest state road was to the east 
of the Institute, traffic would have to circle behind the 
quadrangle in order to enter from the western side. A circum- 
ferential road encircled .the composition in the plan. 

Vehicular traffic was to be regulated by the two entrances 
to the campus, the axial driveways, and roundabouts. Pedes- 
trian traffic was to be directed by a system of arcades and 
colonnades which was to connect almost every building on this 
original development plan. The arcades defined and enclosed 
the composition. They were to be the main unifying device, 
serving to link the buildings visually and physically. They 
created orderly and easily recognizable circulation patterns, 
and provided shelter from the elements. (Cram and Ferguson's 
later use of arcades at Rice Institute was to serve the same 
purposes.) (Plate 7) 

Sweet Briar Institute was not the first school for which 
a system of arcades was devised. Arcades and colonnades 



33 

surround courtyards at the English universities of Oxford and 
Cambridge, and in America, they had been used to unify the 
campuses at the University of Virginia and Stanford Univer- 
sity. Definition of plan and shelter, two reasons for Sweet 
Briar's arcades, are among the reasons for their use at the 
University 'of Virginia and Stanford University. Werner Hegemann 
and Elbert Peets compared Sweet Briar to the University of 
Virginia in their book. The American Vitruvius : An Architects ' 
Handbook of Civic Art . "The element of unification furnished 
by Jefferson's colonnades and arcades and much of what is best 
in Jefferson's design is taken up in the plans for Sweet 
Briar College. . . , a truly American campus. . . , the whole 
constituting what may appear a design more pleasing, lighter 
and freer than Jefferson's work." Certainly Cram's use of 
the arcades is one of the most distinctive and distinguishing 
features of the composition at Sweet Briar. They reinforce 
the cohesion and orderliness of the overall plan, and serve 
important functional roles as well. 

Cram's original plan for Sweet Briar Institute is a 
grandiose one, more varied in the types and distribution of 
the buildings than the University of Virginia. While the 
buildings at Sweet Briar are planned as individual entities, 
they are still perceived as a whole. Unlike Jefferson's 
design for the University of Virginia, or Shepley, Rutan and 
Coolidge ' s Stanford University, where one building is the 
focal point of each quadrangle, the plan for Sweet Briar 



34 
allowed for three such focal points--Cominencement Hall, the 
chapel and Refectory. While the chapel and dining hall were, 
by English tradition, the most distinctive in a scholastic 
ensemble, a commencement hall was a newcomer to campuses. 
(Cram and Ferguson designed such a building for Williams 
College, also.) At Sweet Briar the building resembles 
Jefferson's Rotunda in its appearance and in one aspect of 
its site. Like the Rotunda, Commencement Hall is situated on 
a knoll, commanding the view beyond. However, the proposed 
Sweet Briar building is not on the campus's main axis, and is 
not, therefore, to be viewed as the single most important 
architectural entity. In this first plan Cram, has integrated 
the chapel into the residential side of the campus in a position 
analogous to the University of Virginia Rotunda. Thus in some 
aspects of his planning. Cram seems to have been influenced 
by the University of Virginia. But since a chapel was not 
incorporated into that school's original scheme, Cram's 
combination of emphases (educational, religious, and residen- 
tial) is English in derivation. The plan of Sweet Briar 
Institute was taken from several sources and eras. It was 
highly original in concept and won approval both locally and 
nationally. 

The preliminary plans were put on display in Lynchburg, 
Virginia, in the spring of 1902. The Lynchburg News reported: 
"'The drawings and sketches of the proposed Sweet Briar 
Institute will be placed on exhibition in the windows of the 



35 
office of the Lynchburg Traction and Light Company on Main 
Street where they can be seen by all persons who may be 
interested in the best of architecture and in modern ideas for 
educational institutions. These pictures. . .are exceedingly 

g 

handsome and attractive in appearance.'" 

Dr. Mary K. Benedict, Sweet Briar's first President, 
recalled that upon her arrival at the school, "I found Mr. 
Cram's most beautiful plan for the group of buildings, and 
we had a very fine set of architect's drawings of the group as 
it would be when completed. These pictures were a visualization 
of our plans for the future, and Mr. Cram's vision was one of 
the things that inspired us. The fact that we had a plan for 
a harmonious group of buildings from the beginning saved much 
discussion. . . , and kept the unity of architecture which is 
always to be desired. Although we met some diversity of 
opinion about having a quadrangle out in the country, no other 

plan seems so satisfying as the one to which we were committed 

9 
in the beginning." Dr. Benedict oversaw the construction of 

the institute's first buildings. 

From the original scheme four college buildings, plus 

four faculty houses, service buildings and temporary roads, 

were built with the available $530, 577. The four main 

buildings were Gray and Carson dormitories (numbers one and 

two on the plan), the Refectory, and Academic (now called 

Benedict). These buildings were erected by 1906, and established 

the nucleus for Sweet Briar Institute's future growth. The 



36 

northeastern corner was filled out by 1910 with the completion 
of Randolph (1908, number four on the plan) and Manson (1910, 
number three) . In 1912 Grammer (number five) began the south- 
eastern dormitory group. The dormitories are three story 
brick buildings, trimmed in light-colored limestone and wood. 
Stone string courses define the horizontal divisions of the 
buildings. The roofs are hipped with an inside chimney at 
each end. The chimneys of Gray and Grammer appear as simpli- 
fied versions of those at Stratford Hall. Gables top slight 
projections from the main blocks, one at each short side, two 
on the long sides of the buildings. (Plate 3) These projec- 
tions mark doorways, and on the long sides, provide relief 
and definition to the buildings' masses. The interiors of 
the first four dorms display simple Georgian woodwork. 
(Plate 9) 

One of two planned pavilions was also constructed with 
the first group of buildings. (Plate lo) Located to the 
south of Gray, the pavilion is referred to as the "Cupola" 
at Sweet Briar. It is two stories, capped by a dome, con- 
structed of brick laid in Flemish bond, and stone trim. 
The lower story resembles the arcades which unify the buildings 
An arch pierces each side of the base. The upper level bears 
a slightly recessed arch on each side enframed by Ionic 
columns which support an entabulature and semi-circular 
pediment. The columns rest on brick piers, between which 
are rows of stone balusters. The pavilion is in the tradition 



37 
of Palladian bridge gates, garden ornaments (which is 

essentially the Cupola's role today), and English market 

10 
crosses . 

The Refectory is at the center of the northeastern group 
of dormitories, (Plate 11) and was originally to be the. focal 
point of an axis from the south. A strongly verticalized 
three-bay facade, topped with a domed cupola, faces the yard. 
The main entrance is centered in the limestone-faced English 
basement; there are side entrances from the arcades. The 
upper block of the building, the piano nobile, is brick. 
Brick pilasters, of the Ionic order, separate the shallow 
recessed arches which frame the windows. The original speci- 
fications were for a balustrade beneath each window to suggest 
the continuation of the arcade. Wrought iron was used in 
place of the balusters. A smaller round window is above each 
of the main sashes. The entabulature is of the Corinthian 
order, with its dentil molding and modillion blocks creating 
patterns of light and shade over the upper surfaces . The 
large cupola is unusual because of its bulbous ribbed dome. 
A blind arch topped with a triangular pediment constitutes 
each side of the cupola, above which the dome rises. 

The Refectory differs noticeably from its more domestic 
neighbors in its massing and composition. The cupola dis- 
tinguishes the Refectory from the surrounding dormitories, 
indicating its more public nature. In its massing the 
Refectory may have found its inspiration in Inigo Jones' 



38 
New Gallery, Somerset House. There giant order pilasters rise 

from a rusticated basement as they do at Sweet Briar's 

Refectory. Similarity can also be seen between the Refectory 

and Marble Hill, built by Lord Pembroke and Roger Morris about 

1728. The Refectory's composition is akin to that of the 

central projecting bay at Marble Hill. The domesticity of 

the latter is strong; therefore, this alone could not have 

been the source. The Refectory is an effective blending of 

motifs denoting a building for public use in a residential 

setting. 

At the western side of the composition. Academic served 
as the original classroom and administration building of the 

new campus. This official function was expressed by the 

columned two-story loggia which faces south. (Plate 12) 

The ground-level arcade is a visual continuum of those 

previously discussed. Above is a wide, yet simple stone 

entabulature ; one row each of egg and dart, dentil, and a 

variation of the former constitutes the upper band. There 

is a stone balustrade along the roofline. The center of 

Academic is stressed by the white recessed arches over the 

three central doors of the piano nobile, a feature the 

architects had employed in the Refectory and the dormitory 

windows. One critic has described Academic as a Beaux-Arts 

building, in its "fussy windows, the freestanding columns, the 

monumental Roman detail, the somewhat free use of traditional 

influences that exemplifies. . .Beaux Arts." While the 



39 
plan of Sweet Briar was Beaux Arts inspired, the same cannot 
be said of Academic, or other buildings of the school. The 
stylistic roots of the college are closer to the classicism 
of Georgian architecture than that of the Beaux Arts. Sweet 
Briar buildings exhibit restraint rather than Beaux-Arts 
exuberance. A better comparison for Academic is found in the 
seventeenth-century English architecture of Inigo Jones. 
Academic and its 1925 look-alike, Fletcher, resemble Jones' 
Queen's House at Greenwich in the loggias over English base- 
ments and roof line balustrades. 

The seven buildings previously discussed were built 
according to the architects' plans, in the locations indicated 
in the original plan of 1902-03. There may have been sketches 
of other prospective buildings. Sweet Briar lost a number of 

early renderings of the campus when these were sent to an 

12 
exhibition in Jamestown, Virginia. With facades facing south 

or west, and service roads behind them, this nucleus determined 

the course of future development. A less formal approach to 

landscaping v;as taken, and the squares between walkways were 

left to grass rather than parterres. Paths and a simply 

defined roadway traversed the central campus; the formal 

drive with its three oval roundabouts was not constructed. 

The campus remained as such until the 1920 's. 

A new classroom building was erected in 1925, the advent 

of a second period of physical growth at Sweet Briar. Fletcher 

was built at the western end of the campus, on the site 



40 
designated on the 1902 plan for the Art Building. Fletcher 
is the near twin of Academic, with its columned loggia above 
an arcade, and balustraded roofline. (Plate 13) Treatment 
of the cornice and windows has been simplified at Fletcher. 
The trim is wooden, rather than stone, and the only molding 
employed is one of dentils. Whereas the doors were emphasized 
with recessed arches in the older building, the architect now 
employs triangular pediments for the same purpose. By com- 
parison the small differences between Fletcher and Academic 
strengthen the former building by giving it cleaner lines, 
and a more distinctive and dignified appearance. Fletcher 
was used for administrative offices and classrooms. The 
removal of offices from Academic allowed it to be used for 
science laboratories, lecture halls and art studios. 

Locating Fletcher on the site originally designated for 
the art building was not a drastic change in overall planning. 
A dormitory which was erected during this second building 
phase did, however, bring about a decided change in the 
residential area. Fergus Reid dormitory, located in the 
southeastern residential group, enclosed the southern side 
of the composition. The dormitory was located in the line 
of what was to have been a vista to and from the Refectory. 
On the original plan, then, Fergus Reid is in the middle 
of the axial drive which led from the Refectory to- the road 
at the south, a drive which was to have bisected the south- 
eastern dormitories. The vista closed, the eastern end of 



41 

the campus began to assume the nature of a courtyard. The 

courtyard was further defined and contained in a second 
development plan dated January 30, 1928. (Plate 14 ) The 
Cram and Ferguson plan called for the southern residential 
group to form an open-ended quadrangle. A future dormitory 
would be symmetrical with Grammer, on the western side of 
Fergus Reid, thereby forming the three-sided composition. 

Plans for Fergus Reid were begun in 1924. The plans dated 
September 24 of that year were revised and initialed by Cram 
and Ferguson on October 31. Fergus Reid is stylistically kin 
to the earlier dorms, but is simpler in its massing. The 
long gable roof is crossed at its center by an intersecting 
gable, the ends of which divide the northern and southern 
facades of the building. The pediment of the northern eleva- 
tion is supported by two-story columns , which in turn rest 
on an arcaded basement. The stone string courses used in 
the earlier buildings are also employed at Fergus Reid, 
however they are confined to the lower portion of the building. 
The fenestration and ornamentation are now simpler. Only 
ground floor windows have stone keys. At each end of the building 
is a double chimney into which are set three windows , the 
largest a Palladian window, the smallest a thermal window. 

While the exterior of Fergus Reid has been simplified 
and refined, the interior was made much more ornate than the 
older dormitories. Stairs descend from either side of the 
entrance hall, while a smaller stair leads up to the parlors. 



42 
Two long rectangular parlors extend in either direction from 
a square hall. Doorways are framed by Roman order Doric half- 
columns; the parlors are panelled. At the western end is a 
fireplace, with the mantle supported by Ionic order engaged 
columns . 

Fergus Reid and Fletcher were simplified for reasons of 
economy. Fergus Reid is, as a result, less distinctive than 
the other dormitories. The architects opted for an exterior 
that is more Georgian and less eclectic than the others . For 
example, Grammer dormitory displays a freer assemblage of both 
materials and influences than Fergus Reid. Fletcher, too, is 
less ornate than its neighbors; yet it is no less notable 
than they. 

Subsequent plans for the development of the college 
illustrate the tendency towards increasing simplicity. During 
Cram's years as architect at Sweet Briar, three development 
plans were drawn. While they became less formal, the scheme 
for a great quadrangle containing smaller courtyards was 
retained. Major buildings or vistas dominated axial lines 
of vision. 

In 1925 Meta Glass became the third president of Sweet 
Briar College. Glass recommended that a building program be 
initiated, and that it include plans for a library, an 
auditorium and a gymnasium. These three buildings, with a 
relocated chapel, figure prominently in the 192 8 development 
plan. The auditorium was to be located on the former site 



43 

of the chapel, and was designed to replace the formerly proposed 
Commencement Hall. A building such as Commencement Hall was no 
longer desired, and it was thought that an auditorium would be 
an even more versatile addition to the campus. The auditorium 
was to seat 1000 and was to be used for dramatic and cultural 
productions, meetings, and worship services. The chapel was 
to be directly opposite its previous location, closing the 
vista to the west. The western side of the campus was com- 
pleted with future fine arts and sciences buildings, flanking 
the chapel and facing east. The library was relocated to the 
former site of Commencement Hall. In this way the library 
became the focal point of the academic group. The library 
was to be set back from Fletcher and Academic, facing a 
courtyard with a reflecting pool. Two unassigned buildings 
on the southwestern side framed the long vista from the library. 

The Mary Helen Cochran Library was the first of President 
Glass's proposals to be built, and was the last major work 
of Cram and Ferguson's to be built at Sweet Briar. (Plate 15) 
Designed in 1928 and built in 1929, the library is the most 
formal and ornate of the firm's buildings on campus. It is 
composed of a large central block with a smaller wing to 
either side. The entrances to the building are in these wings. 
The double doors are topped with semi-circular fanlights, 
and surrounded with rich stone carving. From Ionic pilasters 
spring broken elliptical pediments, in the centers of which 
are crests hung with swags. Such a profusion of ornament is 



44 

unusual for Cram. The small scale of the wings and the rela- 
tively large scale of this ornament is uncharacteristic of 
his work. The main block is better proportioned. The seven 
bays are defined by Corinthian pilasters which extend the 
height of the building. There are small windows beneath the 
string course, larger ones with semi-circular heads above. 
The modillion block cornice and balustrade at the roofline, 
features of the other main buildings, are seen here also. 
The arcades of Academic and Fletcher were not employed at 
the library. The use of the Corinthian order is the only 
such example on campus. 

The wings of Cochran Library are used for circulation, 
offices and study rooms. The Browsing Room is in the eastern 
wing. The panelling in this room, the fireplace and overmantle, 
make this the most Georgian room in the building. The wall 

space behind the bookshelves is a deep Pompeiian red, and is 

14 
reportedly taken directly from Cram's own library. The main 

block is occupied by a double height reading room and a study 

gallery. (Plate 16) The upper story windows are set into 

arches, the study gallery is behind an arcade. Corinthian 

pilasters separate each arch. The ceiling is ornamented with 

banks of plasterwork cast in foliate patterns, fruits and 

flowers. (Plate 17) 

An article in the Sweet Briar Alumnae News reported that 

Cram was in Italy when the firm began working on the library. 

In his absence "A plan was adopted which was only half-way 

satisfactory. In a conversation with Miss Glass in Boston, 



45 

Mr. Cram declared, 'I don't like this library. Let's throw 

it away.' Miss Glass agreed, 'I never have liked it. You 
can throw it as far as you please. ' Perched on high stools 
before the drawing board, Mr. Cram with Miss Glass' approval 
sketched roughly the present library." The reference to this 
proposal may refer to a plan which was featured in a Sweet 
Briar fund-raising publication. The sketch showed the library 
resembling the Refectory in its siting and its relation to 
neighboring buildings. 

The supposition that someone else in Cram's office worked 
on the Sweet Briar library is furthered by a letter from 
President Glass to Chester N. Godfrey, one of Cram's associates. 
Glass expressed the hope that Godfrey could come to Sweet 

Briar in the fall of 1929 so that he could "take some satis- 

16 
faction for all the hard work you have done." Alexander 

Hoyle also participated in the Sweet Briar work, as he corres- 
ponded with the college and the associate architects, and 
made more than one trip to the college. 

While the Cochran Library was under construction in 1929, 
the question of a roadway and a proper entrance for the campus 
was much discussed. Landscape architect Charles Gillette of 
Richmond proposed a road running north of the academic buildings 
and dormitories . Cram had apparently made suggestions of his 
own, as Gillette referred to such a plan in a letter to Glass. 
"His [Cram's] road plans sound a long way in the future to me. 
The plan I suggested to you will always be a useful one and 



46 
will probably serve you a long time as a main entrance thus 

eliminating immediately the present bad situation of a road 

in the quadrangle." 

Cram did approve of this road, but not as a main entrance. 

The original plan for the campus had located the main entrance 

at the western end of the central axis. Now Cram believed 

it should be between Randolph and Grammer dormitories , at the 

site the chapel was originally intended to occupy, and where 

the auditorium had been placed in the 1928 plan. (The 1928 

plan was drawn while Cram was in Europe, and he objected to 

18 
the auditorium's placement therein.) Cram envisioned a 

balustraded arcade between Randolph and Grammer as a proper 
entrance. Gillette's roadway was built, but the formal 
entrance was never realized, nor was it mentioned in corres- 
pondence again until 1940. In that year it seems that Glass 
initiated discussion of the entrance, which continued both 
through correspondence and a visit to the architect's office 
in Boston, probably in August 1940. Cram then termed the 
entrance a "propylaea," which would house an inquiry office, 
public telephone, restrocms, and possibly a package delivery 
office. Glass responded that, as economy must be foremost, 
an inquiry office with two small phone rooms and a telegraph 
on one level, with a waiting room and restrooms above would 

be sufficient. She suggested the size be fifteen by twenty- 

19 
five feet. Cram responded that he had noted Glass's 

suggestions: "This is a very interesting problem, and I am 



47 

20 

studying it with assiduity." In November 1940 two prints 

of the proposed propylaea were sent to Glass, along with plans 
of a proposed roadway. Unfortunately the location of these 
drawings at Sweet Briar is unknown. Since the propylaea was 
never built, it is difficult to fully assess the impact such 
a structure would have had on the campus. 

The Daisy Williams Gymnasium was the last buildinA to 
be built at Sweet Brialf during Cram and Ferguson's association 
with the college. The gymnasium was the work of the archi- 
tectural firm of Clark and Crowe of Lynchburg, Virginia. 
Cram and Ferguson served as associate architects, as they 
had done with the Lynchburg firm in 1925 at the Mary Harley 
Student Health Center. Cram suggested to President Glass 
that his firm serve in this capacity. He thought it the most 
prompt and efficient way of handling the project, insuring 
the college's greatest satisfaction in a building which Cram 
thought would require a good deal of supervision by the 
architects. Cram suggested that Clark and Crowe devise plans 
acceptable to the Sweet Briar authorities and athletic 
director. Cram and Ferguson were to review the preliminary 

drawings, prepare drawings at one-eighth-inch scale, and 

21 
approve the final drawings. There does exist a rendering 

of a gymnasium done for Sweet Briar by Cram and Ferguson, 

but it is undated and does not bear resemblance to the 

structure as built. (Plate 18) Since the only correspondence 



48 
between the architects and the college which remains at 
Sweet Briar today post dates 1925, and since this drawing 
of the gymnasium is not mentioned therein, it can be assumed 
that it was done sometime between the formation of the firm 
in 1913, and 1925. 

The gymnasium was the last major addition to the 
physical plant until the 1950's. There were plans for addi- 
tional structures in the intervening years, as can be seen 
on the various development plans, but due to lack of funds 
these were never built. President Glass corresponded with 
the architects in the late 1930 's about plans for a chapel, 
and an auditorium/fine arts building. Plans for these 
were drawn, but copies of them do not now exist at Sweet 
Briar . 

A rendering of a chapel interior, done in the early years 
of the school's planning, is the only remaining graphic docu- 
mentation. (Plate 19) The drawing, possibly by Goodhue, 
shows a center aisle, a seemingly basilican plan. Doric and 
Ionic columns screen the aisles and gallery, respectively. 
A Palladian window is at the east end. The early plans were 
never enacted and in November of 1936, the architects agreed 
to proceed with drawings for Sweet Briar's chapel. Chester 
Godfrey and Cram both wrote to President Glass requesting more 
specific information about the number of people to be accom- 
modated and the interior arrangement desired. Glass stressed 
to Cram that it was his handiwork the College wanted, not that 



49 
of his office. Cram's reply was: "I am perfectly free to say 
that having nothing else to do I already have gone so far 
in studying the problem that, subject to favorable statements 
covering accommodations and possible cost, the whole thing 
could be put through in sketch form even if I were not here. 
The truth is, irrational as it may seem to you, I already 
have designed the chapel almost completely, so you see that 

in any case it would be my design whether I stand over the 

22 

final drawings or not." It is highly unlikely that Cram 

had little else to do, and the progress is interesting in 
that Cram could not have received Glass's specifications for 
the chapel at the time his letter was written. 

Glass's letter itemizing her requests for the building was 
written the same day as Cram's. Glass wrote that the chapel 
should be able to accommodate 650, but that 250 should not 
feel lost in it. She wanted the choir to be composed of two 

sections facing each other, and hoped the building would be 

23 

narrow, so that the view would be blocked as little as possible. 

Two days later Glass wrote that $150,000 could be counted on 
towards the construction of the chapel. A letter from Chester 
Godfrey, dated January 19, 19 37, stated that the floor plans 
for the chapel were ready to be mailed, and he provided a 
brief description of them. The chapel was composed of a 
central nave with side and rear galleries which could be 
reached by stairs at the four corners. A small chapel opened 
onto the chancel. The communion rail was at the entrance to 



50 

24 
the choir; the choir was designed to seat 40. In the summer 

of 1937 Cram and Ferguson's firm was busy making revisions in 
the chapel plans. A minister's apartment was put in the base- 
ment, and the entrance to the small chanel from the exterior 
was altered. President Glass suggested adaptations of the 
window treatment and spire of the Independent Presbyterian 
Church in Savannah, Georgia, for Sweet Briar's chapel. V7hile 
Cram preferred his own firm's steeple, he endorsed Glass's 
idea of using Venetian blinds for the windows. "One of the 
most effective things in Colonial churches is the sunlight 
shining through, but modified by these same Venetian blinds. 

These might be painted either green or cream color. Let us 

25 
have blinds on the future chapel, by all means." The 

architect's vision of the interior did not meet with full 
approval at Sweet Briar, as Glass wrote to Cram asking that 
it be less "severe and hard," suggesting that the columns 
between the gallery and ceiling be omitted. Cram responded 
that he may do the chapel revisions himself, and later wrote 
that he had completed the revisions. 

Two schemes for the interior of the chapel were sent to 
Sweet Briar. One was an English Georgian scheme, the inspira- 
tion for which could be seen in St. Martin ' s-in-the-Fields , 
London, and Christ Church, Philadelphia. However, office 
discussion encouraged a second plan, done in the American 
Colonial mode. Renderings of these interiors by Alexander 
Hoyle, pencil renderings of the perspectives, and plans were 



51 

27 
sent to the college. Less than a month later Glass informed 

Cram that the Colonial rendering had met with almost unanimous 

approval from the Sweet Briar officials. Even with this 

encouragement, there were apparently never sufficient funds 

for the construction of the chapel. The correspondence 

regarding the building drops off markedly in 1938. A letter 

of February 21, 1938, acknowledges the receipt of more plans 

for the chapel. An apparently disheartened Cram handwrote a 

final note to President Glass about the building in March 

19 38. "You do not seem very encouraging in the matter of 

giving it reality in time and space, so I suppose I must give 

2 8 
up hope of ever seeing it." 

A 1940 development plan and the correspondence between 

Cram and Glass indicated that the auditorium and the fine arts 

buildings v;ere to be housed in one structure. This would seem 

to be for reasons of economy, and also helps explain the size 

of the building labelled "Fine Arts" on the 1940 plan. 

Sketches of a proposed auditorium had been made in 1928, though 

no elevations or perspectives were done at that time. The 

auditorium was discussed again in 1936 and 1937. In June of 

1937 Glass visited the architect's office, at which time 

it seems they reviewed the earlier diagrammatic plans for the 

buildings. By July 19 37 Cram notified Glass that two studies 

for the auditorium/art building were being sent to Sweet 

Briar. Glass's response was that she did not think the building 

needed to be so large to accommodate the college's needs. 



52 
She wondered if Cram would not like to relocate the complex, 
also. Above all, Glass asked Cram and Alexander Hoyle to 

come to Sweet Briar so that these questions could be answered 

29 

satisfactorily. Cram and Hoyle visited the campus in early 

August, 1937. There are no notes from their visit. A 
month after Glass's invitation. Cram wrote to the college 
president to say that he had done all of the plans for the 
new complex himself. By the close of 1937, the office had 
completed the diagrammatic plans and the color perspectives. 
The architects proceeded as far as the quarter-inch scale 
drawings, but did not make working drawings and specifications 
for financial reasons. In the same handwritten note of 1938 
in which Cram bemoaned the fate of the chapel, he expressed 
the thought that the fine arts/auditorium building would 
regrettably meet the same end. This is the last mention of 
the building in the correspondence at Sweet Briar. 

A third development plan (Plate 20) was worked out in 
1940 to accommodate the propylaea, the fine arts/auditorium 
building and the chapel, about which President Glass and the 
architects had corresponded. This development plan is the 
only document which remains at Sweet Briar that illustrates 
these proposed structures. The chapel and propylaea ter- 
minated the axis that ran the length of the campus. The 
propylaea at the eastern end, and the chapel at the western 
side. The ground plan of the chapel was significantly 
altered from the 1928 plan. In the plans of 1902-03 and 



53 
1928, the chapel had been a sL-nple basilican form. The 1940 
plan illustrated a shorter, more angular building. The 
semi-circular apse has been replaced by a series of set-back 
rectangles. In the 1928 plan there were two "unassigned" 
buildings on the southern side of the campus, one on either 
side of the base court. The fine arts complex now occupied 
the southwest corner, while the other space was left vacant. 
As shown, the fine arts/auditorium building would have been 
the largest structure on campus . 

A roundabout for vehicular traffic was located at the 
northwest corner of the 1940 plan. The roundabout gave 
access to the central quadrangle, the circumferential road, 
and smaller roads on the western side of the college grounds. 
The roads and paths within the quadrangle have been simpli- 
fied, and the formal landscape elements were no longer 
featured. The Beaux Arts plan, foreign to Amherst County, 
Virginia, was not to be imposed on its. rolling hillsides. 
The college clung to its pleasantly agrarian landscape. 
Deciduous trees and boxwood in less formal plantings gave 
to Sweet Briar a campus rusticus , rather than a more pre- 
tentious and sophisticated appearance. 

Soon after the publication of the 1940 development 
plan. Cram wrote to Glass to suggest an alternate campus 
entrance. This final proposal was also to be between Randolph 
and Grammer. Cram explained that he thought "the whole affect 
is obtained by this fine, direct, single entrance with the 



54 

broad flight of steps." Having considered a wide range 

of possible entrances to the quadrangle, Crara's last suggestion 

was the simplest and least expensive. The most significant 

thing about these suggestions is that they are on the 

eastern side of campus, whereas the original entrance was 

to have been at the western end. (Today, all vehicular 

traffic and much pedestrian traffic does enter from the 

western approach, as the eastern side has been completed 

with the building of a chapel in the 1960 's.) 

Meta Glass's successor, Martha B. Lucas, again contacted 
the firm of Cram and Ferguson in 1947 . (Cram had died 
September 22, 1942.) At that time, the college was inter- 
ested in building a new dormitory, and Lucas inquired as to 
whether or not Sweet Briar was under any obligation to Cram 
and Ferguson. Floyle visited the college in September 1947, 
and was in charge of the correspondence between the college 
and firm regarding the dormitory plans. The dormitory was 
not built until 1956, however. The last development plan 
dra;"m for the college by Cram and Ferguson is dated October 
11, 1950. The 1950 plan was very similar to the 1940 plan 
in that the proposed chapel, fine arts complex and a dor- 
mitory in the southeastern group were still illustrated. 
The propylaea was not shown. Two new structures were 
proposed for the northwest corner in the 1950 plan, one 
an administration building and the other a science building. 
These two proposed buildings were to form a quadrangle with 



55 

Fletcher and the Cochran Library. The plan illustrated 
present and proposed roads, also. (Plate 21) 

The later Cram and Ferguson buildings at Sweet Briar 
are neither as unified, nor do they exhibit the same stylis- 
tic consistency, as did the original structures. The dormi- 
tories in the southeastern group and the Cochran Library are 
dissimilar to the older buildings, Fergus Reid dormitory in 
its massing and the library in its ornamentation. Also, the 
library neither rests on an arcaded or stone basement as the 
academic buildings and Refectory do, nor is it connected to 
the older group by arcades. Such differences give the 
impression that each new building was the work of a different 
hand . 

While the original buildings surrounding the Refectory 
are unified both physically and stylistically, the later 
structures are less so. The large scale of the Sweet Briar 
grounds requires that the buildings exhibit greater continuity 
to be a successful ensemble. To continue the comparison 
begun by Hegemann and Peets between Sweet Briar and the 
University of Virginia, the latter is more successful because 
it does exhibit continuity of style and composition and is 
unified by colonnades. 

Sweet Briar's collegiate Georgian architecture, like 
collegiate Gothic, enjoyed a period of great popularity 
beginning in the late nineteenth century. Less formal and 
less monumental than architecture from the Beaux Arts, 



56 

collegiate Georgian recalled the earliest institutions of 
higher learning in this country, just as the Gothic had 
recalled those of England. The Georgian style was exceedingly 
popular in Virginia; more schools in the state are of Georgian 
derivation than of any other style. Buildings at Hampden- 
Sydney College, Washington and Lee University, Hollins and 
Mary Baldwin Colleges, and the College of William and Mary 
are all collegiate Georgian. 

Ralph Adams Cram's work, at Sweet Briar is indicative of 
his versatility as an historicist. While there is evidence 
that others in his office contributed to the work. Cram took 
a keen interest in the college's architectural development, 
and assumed much of the responsibility for it. Pendleton S. 
Clark of the Lynchburg firm which served as associated archi- 
tects to Cram's firm, recalled that Cram did much of the 

32 
Sweet Briar work himself. The appeal of such a significant 

commission to a young firm interested in establishing its 
reputation outweighed Cram's penchant for Gothic Revival. 
The Sweet Briar work could have appealed to Cram, Goodhue 
and Ferguson on several counts: it provided them the oppor- 
tunity to engage in large-scale collegiate planning, it 
allowed them to work outside of Massachusetts which would 
broaden their reputation, and, if successful, their work 
might well receive favorable publicity. The firm succeeded 
in each area. Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson, later Cram and 
Ferguson, firmly established the stylistic and developmental 



57 

plans for Sweet Briar. Subsequent work at Sweet Briar has 
largely been at some distance from the original campus. 
Even those buildings which have been erected on the central 
campus have been quite respectful of the earlier development 
plans. Two dormitories were added to the southern group, 
one in the location first indicated on the 1928 development 
plan. When the chapel was built in the 1960 's, it was 
placed at the eastern side of the campus, in the location 
designated for that purpose on the 1903 plan. A Georgian 
building style has been used on these later additions 
to the campus so as to maintain stylistic harmony. 

That the Sweet Briar work was not finished as it was 
planned to have been is the almost inevitable outcome of 
building over an extended period of time. Another limiting 
factor was the lack of sufficient funding for the projects. 
These factors form interesting comparisons for Cram's work 
at Princeton University, where Cram also dealt with questions 
of unitv and stvlistic harmonv. 



CHAPTER IV 
"A Gothic Epitome" 

Ralph Adams Cram's work on the campus of Princeton 
University, in his capacity of Supervising Architect, reveals 
mere about his philosophy of collegiate architecture and 
planning than his vork at any other school. Cram stressed 
the importance of a good general plan for development:, and 
implemented as many of his proposals as was possible. Ke 
worked hard to insure that decisions made by University 
officials concerning the buildings and grounds were good ones. 
Cram oversaw the construction of much of Princeton's colle- 
giate Gothic architecture, and contributed a dormitory, an 
academic building, a graduate school complex, and a chapel 
to the physical plant. Each is as distinctive as the purpose 
it serves. All exhibit assiduous planning, the key to Cram's 
collegiate work. 

One of Cram's major goals was to bring order to the 
existing campus. During the second half of the nineteenth 
century, the buildings at Princeton had been rather randomly 
placed, some at their donors' requested sites, others as 
elements in a landscape park. This "'go-as-you-please'" 
approach^ as Cram called it (in choosing both site and style), 
was abandoned in the 1390s witih the building of the Pyne 
Librarv and Blair and Little Halls. These three structures 



59 
were the first collegiate Gothic buildings at the University, 

and the dormitories, in particular, were carefully sited. 

Cram wanted to continue this orderly development, and thought 

that a plan for future development would promote stylistic 

unity and consistency. 

Cram was not guided by aesthetic considerations alone. 

He hoped that as a well-planned, collegiate-Gothic university, 

Princeton would, like Oxford and Cambridge Universities,- evoke 

a tradition that transcended the limits of time and place, a 

tradition that was infused with the standards of scholarship 

and character. Thus he thought, Princeton would proclaim its 

British educational heritage, and subconsciously impart the 

values of learning and good art to its observers. Cram wrote 

that "the psychological power, the educational value, the 

sheer dynamic force of good art are not to be lightly estimated, 

and the consistent and beautiful development of the material 

form of a great University is as much a prime necessity and a 

sacred duty as is the perfecting of the curriculum and the 

2 

personnel of the Faculty." A development plan was not an 

end in itself, but would ultimately contribute to the whole 
university. 

That the school felt a commitment to the value of its 
physical plant is witnessed by its decision to retain a 
supervising architect. Cram was hired by the University in 
1906 to design a development plan, and as supervising archi- 
tect in 1907. By choosing Cram, Princeton was assured of 



60 
growth along Gothic lines. The stated by-laws governing the 

supervising architect's position were practical and straight- 
forward. The superintendent of Grounds and Buildings itemized 
the responsibilities as follows: "'(a) Approve the selection 
of architects for any new university buildings. (b) Supervise 
the plans, and specifications for any such buildings. 

(c) Approve the sites for new buildings and location of new 

4 
roads and paths. '" In addition to these duties regarding 

structural additions, Cram was also to draw up a plan for 

Princeton's future growth, which would necessitate more and 

larger facilities. In order that the expansion be distributed 

across the campus, a development plan was necessary. Although 

the campus was made up of disparate units, Cram wanted it to 

appear as a consistent whole, with views focusing on either 

a building or vista where possible. 

Princeton ' s Archi tectural Development Prior to 1890 

The College of New Jersey's first building in Princeton 
was a relatively simple Federal building atop a sloping hill. 
It was built in 1754 by Robert Smith and Dr. William Shippen. 
Unlike the earliest buildings of Harvard or Yale, which 
resembled oversized domestic structures, Nassau Hall exhibited 
more sophisticated proportions and a distinctive cupola. 
The college grew around this building, which became the 
geographic center of the developing physical plant. 

In the next fifty years, the plan of the college grew 
along symmetrical lines, as Benjamin Latrobe designed 



61 

Philosophical and Stanhope Halls (1804-05) to flank Nassau 

Hall. This scheme was continued with East and West Colleges 
(1833 and 1835) and Whig and Clio Halls (1837). The seven 
original buildings of the College of New Jersey were laid 
out in an orderly and symmetrical scheme. (Plate22) The 
buildings were sited in relation to the composition, not 
as separate entities. The buildings of this group which 
remained when Cram went to Princeton constituted the center 
campus which Cram planned to leave intact, calling it a 
"sacred" area. 

From mid-century until the 1890s, building at the college 
followed a random pattern. Structures were sited with 
seemingly no relation to the more formal nucleus--two of the 
buildings forming this center had been torn down to make way 
for newer, larger ones — or to each other. Reunion Hall (1870) 
was placed at right angles to Nassau on its western side, but 
little attempt was made towards congruity with its neighbors 
of 1803 and 1836, Likewise, Alexander Hall (1892), Wither- 
spoon (1877) , Dodd (1890) , and Marquand Chapel (1881) were 
placed on the open grounds. Not only were they physically 
unrelated, but the buildings of this period were also 
stylistically unrelated. William Appleton Potter's library 
of 1873 was inspired by Venetian Gothic, while Richard Morris 
Hunt's Marquand Chapel was Romanesque. The college buildings 
reflected the eclecticism of the Victorian era in their 
materials, polychromy and stylistic manifestations. The 



62 
campus witnessed a period of donor domination, during which 
the college benefactors sought distinctive monuments for their 
contributions. Individuality, not conformity, was the main 
force at work in the architecture of the College of New 
Jersey in the mid- to late- nineteenth century. 

A Gothic University 

The year 1396 brought changes of lasting importance to 
the school and campus, as the College of New Jersey cele- 
brated its sesquicentennial . College Dean Andrew Fleming 
West organized the anniversary activities. West strongly 
believed that the school's future would best be assured by 
modelling the educational system on British and European 
universities, with plans to accommodate graduate students. 
West invited professors from the universities in Leipzig, 
Gottingen, Cambridge, Edinburg, Dublin and Utrecht to speak 
at the sesquicentennial ceremonies, at which college Presi- 
dent Francis L. Patton announced the plan for the school to 
become Princeton University. At this time, it was also 
decided that architectural emulation of Oxford and Cambridge 
would behoove the university.' The decision that future 
construction be in the medieval collegiate Gothic style 
resulted in Princeton University's buildings displaying a 
homogeneity previously unseen in the majority of American 
colleges . 

The first collegiate Gothic structure on campus was 
Blair Hall, 1896-98, designed by Cope and Stewardson of 



63 
Philadelphia. In 1899-1900 they furthered this dormitory 
range with Stafford Little Hall. Blair and Little embodied 
the Trustees' ideals, and set the style for future building. 
Physically, Blair divided the campus fron the railroad tracks, 
which at that time ran parallel to University Place. Blair 
Hall seemS' almost fortress-like in the massive proportion of 
its bisecting tower. The tower block is defined by four 
smaller octagonal turrets, the whole crenellated. The enor- 
mous arch below was a gateway to the campus, as the majority 
of visitors to the University arrived by train. Blair Arch 
was the ceremonial greeting place. The dorm ranges them- 
selves are domestic in their proportion and fenestration. 
Blair, Little, and Dillon gymnasium (1903) to the south, formed 
the western boundary of the school's grounds. Cram lavished 
praise on Cope and Stewardson's buildings, describing them 
as "sufficiently British, sufficiently American, a perfect 

g 

model of sound design and impeccable theories." 

Such was the physical plant of the University when, in 
1906, Cram was asked to draw a plan for stylistic unity and 
for development. Cram called his scheme the "University Plan" 

for development, as opposed to the Victorian "Pleasure Park" 

9 
approach which took a more casual attitude towards style 

and site. In 1908, Cram wrote that for more than a year 

his plan had been "tentatively authorized and conditionally 

adopted," and that it was being finalized and made ready 

for public inspection. 



64 

Cram determined to organize the campus along two major 
axes. (Plate 23) The north-south axis began at Nassau Hall 
and ran down the hill to Lake Carnegie, while the east-west 
axis divided the campus from Washington Road to the railroad 
tracks and University Place. The quadrants thus formed by the 
intersection of the axes will be used in describing the 
aspects of the plan. In order to emphasize the north-south 
axis, and to remove vehicular traffic from the center of 
campus, the plan called for the relocation of the road which 
ran north of Whig and Clio to the south of these buildings. 
Sight of the road would then be obscured by the two buildings, 
which Cram hoped to connect with a marble terrace. Lining 
the main axis were to be doubled rows of English elm trees. 

Proceeding south on the west side, Dodd Hall was to be 
removed entirely, or pushed back forty feet and lowered one 
story so that its scale would then correspond with its 
neighbors. Cosmetic changes to Dodd were to include a new 
roof, removal of its yellow chimneys and fire escapes. The 
remainder of the southwest quadrant consisted of buildings 
already standing: the gymnasium, Stafford Little and 
Edwards Halls. 

The northwest quadrant was composed of dormitories, with 
Alexander Hall at the geographic center. In this area. Cram 
faced the problem of harmonizing Victorian Witherspoon and 
Alexander Halls with the newer collegiate Gothic dorm^s. The 
buildings were left as built; Cram could only suggest English 



65 
ivy and ampelopsis as deterrents to their stylistic intru- 
sion. ^^ The dormitories of the area, however, were designed 
with their backs to Alexander, their courtyards excluding 
it from view as much as possible. In this quadrant were 
formerly located Halsted Observatory and University Hall.-'-^ 
The observatory was removed as the area became more residen- 
tial in nature, the stick style hotel was replaced by 
collegiate Gothic Madison and Holder Halls. Holder (1910) 
and Madison (1916) define the boundaries of the University 
along Nassau Street at its intersection with University 
Place. Holder is marked by its great tower, which is 140 
feet high; Madison contains the University Dining Halls. 
Both are the work of Day and Klauder, Philadelphia architects 

Campbell Hall, located between Madison, Blair and 
Alexander, is partly on the site of the observatory, and is 
the only undergraduate dormitory which Cram, Goodhue and 
Ferguson designed at Princeton. Plans for the building were 
completed in February 1908, and the dormitory was dedicated 
in June 1909. It is an L-shaped building, and with two 
sides of Blair, forms a residential quadrangle. Campbell 
is built of the same materials as Blair, a grey Germantown 
gneiss, trimmed with Indiana limestone. The slate of the 
roof is laid in graduated thicknesses, the thickest slates 
at the roof line. Cram's decision to locate Campbell as 
he did was to give scale to Blair, "that this particular 
part of the composition should be perfected and brought 



66 
into the general scheme.' The relationship works equally 
well in the reverse. Because of Blair's size and location, 
it gives reason for Campbell's existence. Campbell brings 
Blair into the composition by extending the new architectural 
style east toward the center of campus. (Plate 23) The 
sheer size of Blair is tempered somewhat by its sm.aller 
neighbor, as it is given the touch of intimacy which a 
residence hall requires to distinguish itself from a vast 
classroom building. In this regard, Campbell is quite 
collegiare. The Princeton Alumni Weekly on April 1, 1908 
described che building as "a model of collegiate architec- 
ture, not only in mass and design, but in point of every 
detail of finish as well." 

The interior of Campbell Hall is divided into vertical 
units, each of which can be reached by its own entryway. 
Cope and Stewardson had employed this plan, which they 
borrowed from medieval English college design, at Blair Hall. 
Such an interior arrangement was less institutional than the 
traditional American dormitory of long halls off which the 
rooms opened. The domesticity of Campbell is furthered by 
the irregularly shaped rooms and their well-detailed interiors, 
featuring leaded windows and carved woodwork. Cram emtulated 
the plan and features of Blair Hall in this smaller dormitory. 

The pre-existing dominant buildings in the northeast 
quadrant were the Chancellor Green Library (William. Appleton 
Potter, architect, 1873) , Pyne Library (also by Potter, 1896) , 



67 
and Marquand Chapel (Hunt, 1S81). Cram's plan called for 
the libraries, which were contiguous, to be connected with 
Dodge Hall (1900) , so as to form a library courtyard. Just 
to the east of this courtyard were located the Chapel and 
McCosh Hall (R. C. Gildersleeve , architect, 1907) . The 
Chapel and L-shaped McCosh were to form two sides-and-a-half 
of a future quadrangle. An academic building would enclose 
the area bounded by McCosh and Marquand Chapel. The focal 
point of the newly created courtyard within was the Mather 
Sun Dial.-'-^ An expanded School of Science was to occupy 
the Nassau Street-Washington Road corner of the quadrant. 
While the proposed buildings would significantly increase the 
size of Princeton's facilities, the long arms of the buildings 
were generally situated so as to create courtyards, open on 
one side. 

The quadrangles and courtyards continued south of McCosh 
Walk, in the southeast quadrant, which held some of the most 
significant schemes. In the middle of this quadrant was 
located the President's House and gardens. Prospect, built 
in 1849, designed by John Notman in the Italianate style. 
To the southeast of Prospect were to be two new quadrangles 
of science buildings for biology, chemistry and physics. 
Southwest of Prospect were dormitories: Brown Hall, 1891 
(J. L. Faxon, architect), Patton, 1906, by B. W. Morris, and 
in 1912, Day and Klauder ' s Cuyler Hall. To the north of 
these dorms, and to the west of Prospect, were the proposed 



68 
Chapel and a complex of art buildings. Cram's hope was to 
build a new chapel large enough to seat the entire student 
body and faculty, which Marquand was unable to do. He 
envisioned this chapel as having a great central tower which 
was to serve as the focus of the surrounding area. The new 
fine arts complex was to center on the Art Museum, which was 
a Romanesque structure designed by A. Page Brown in 1887. 

The new building for the fine arts and School of Archi- 
tecture was built in 1922. The commission for the building, 
known as McCormick Hall, was given to Cram and Ferguson. 
Since several of the older Victorian Gothic buildings were 
in view of the Romanesque Art Museum, and University policy 
stipulated that the collegiate Gothic be used for new 
buildings, a question of style ensued. An early option was 
to enclose the museum within the new buildings, obscuring it 
from view. After drafting several proposals, a version of 
Italian Gothic was chosen. (Plates 24 & 25) McCormick was 
built of brownstone yielding to creamy yellow stucco in an 
attempt to harmonize with lighter colored neighbors. Granted 
the southern side of the campus offered a stylistic medley, 
but given Cram's willingness to relocate and remodel buildings, 
not to mention removing them entirely, his solution here 
seems surprising. It is especially interesting when viewed 
in light; of McCormick ' s location in relation to the proposed 
Chapel in the 1906 plan. Had the course of events run so 
that the new chapel had been built on the proposed 1906 



69 
location, Cram would then have faced a stylistic problem of 
his own making. Surely the chapel would not have been any 
style other than collegiate Gothic. How would he have 
dealt with the Italianate art complex? One wonders if Cram 
envisioned these considerations in 1906, and what his resolu- 
tion was at that time . 

McCormick is the most recognizable example at Princeton 
of Cram's stylistic eclecticism. He freely used Venetian 
Gothic forms and motifs to suit the particular requirements 
of the project. Materials were handled with similar freedom. 
Today subsequent additions have partially hidden the Cram 
and Ferguson work, just as theirs engulfed Page Brown's, 
but its western side remains visible as a testament to this 
eclecticism. 

Cram's University Plan represents an organized and 
orderly approach to collegiate planning. The m.ajor axes 
which Cram chose to emphasize divided the campus into four 
smaller units. Within each unit the spatial and stylistic 
relationships between buildings were carefully considered. 
Cram's plan called for the m.aking of a number of quadrangles 
and courtyards within the quadrants. New buildings, and 
additions to old ones, were disposed so as to create the 
quadrangles, which were intended to make the plan more 
orderly and manageable in both concept and reality. VJhere 
possible. Cram designated quadrants for particular uses. 
The western quadrants were largely residential; the 



70 
eastern units were given over to academic use, for the most 

part. The whole composition centered on the University's 

oldest buildings. The Cram plan, distinguished by its orderly 

nature, provided the framework for the University's future 

growth. 

The Graduate College 

When College of New Jersey became Princeton University, 
it was decided that a graduate college would enhance the 
academic climate of the school and should be instituted. 
There the agreement ended. The major disagreement regarded 
the location of the graduate college--whether it should be on , 
or away from, the undergraduate campus. Other disagreements 
centered on the kinds of facilities, their size, nature and 
expense. Bequests for a graduate school which carried 
particular stipulations created legal questions. Though the 
dispute centered within the administration, it spilled over 
into many aspects of the University's life. 

The first plans for a graduate school were drawn up 
before Cram's arrival at Princeton. Cope and Stewardson 
prepared schemes for the school on the site of the present 
McCosh Hall. These were published in Plans and Sketches of 
the New Buildings Erected or Proposed for Princeton University , 
which came out in July 1897, Stylistically, the drawings 
were of the English collegiate Gothic, along the lines of 
the firm's other works on the campus. Because of a lack of 



71 
funding at this time, these plans were never executed. 

After the turn of the century concrete steps were being 
taken to actualize the proposed school. Dean of the College, 
Andrew Fleming West, travelled through Great Britain and 
Europe, visiting universities so as to more accurately 
formulate 'ideas for Princeton's graduate school. These 
appeared in published form in 190 3, in The Proposed Graduate 
College . The them.e of the book was the philosophical nature 
of the school, and did not mention site. 

Meanwhile, the first graduate students were admitted and 
housed at Merwick, a residence north of the campus proper.' 
Merwick was considered as a possible permanent location for 
the school, but was ultimately unavailable for legal reasons. 

The 1906 will of Mrs. Josephine A. Thomson Swann 
stipulated that the remainder of her estate be used for the 
erection of the John R. Thomson Graduate College of Princeton 
University. It was to contain residential quarters and 
sitting rooms with separate accommodation for kitchen and 
dining facilities. The executors of Mrs. Swann ' s estate 
were to be consulted on the character and location of the 
college. While University President Woodrow Wilson and Dean 
West had not agreed on a site from the outset, Mrs. Swann ' s 
will brought other opinions to bear on the issue. 

In 1907 the trustees were officially shown the Cope and 
Stewardson proposals, resulting in the recomm.endation that 
they be retained as architects of the college. It appears 



72 

that this recommendation was never acted upon. In 1908 six 

19 
sites were before the trustees for consideration. Presi- 
dent Wilson strongly favored an on-campus site, while Dean 
West preferred a location removed from the undergraduate 
campus. In April 1908 Cram, presented graphic proposals for 
a graduate college near Prospect to the trustees. They decided 
that Prospect was the best site, and that the school should 
be located between '79 Hall and Prospect House. 

The Cram plan for the site in Prospect, known as 
'Exhibit A,' called for the erection of a quadrangle 120 
feet from the president's house, called Thomson College. A-s 
the graduate school expanded, wings would be added and '79 
Hall would be turned over for a graduate residence hall. The 
plans for expansion were outlined in "Exhibit B." These 
included a Dean's House and new Gothic-style president's 
house. The courtyard of the outer quad opened onto the 
Fellows' Gardens. (Plate 26) The southernmost side of the 
complex housed rooms for dining and general use. The arm 
paralleling '79 Hall held a large common room and library, 
in the western side of which, fronting a courtyard, was a 
vaulted arcade. The wing closing the quadrangle on the 
northern side of '79 was made of small studies. To this 
point, the new school was fairly regular in plan. The con- 
gruent angles of the wings were near, if nor precisely, 
ninety degrees. A second arcade, paralleling the first to 
the north, connected the residential unit to the religious 



73 

unit, which was set in a yawning ell. By this arrangement, 
the wing paralleled McCosh Walk and its schematic neighbor 
to the west, the proposed chapel. By this careful placement 
and disposition of the various elements of the complex, Cram 
aligned the graduate school with McCosh Walk to the north, 
and pulled it east to join '79 Hall. The southern portion 
of the school was angled away from Prospect Gardens, and with 
the Physics Building and the Biology and Chemistry Laboratories, 
formed the eastern boundary of the main campus along Washington 
Road. The graduate school was largely introspective, while it 
did acknowledge its surroundings. Thus, it was the American 
counterpart to an English college, maintaining its integrity 
in a greater university setting. 

The Prospect location did have its critics. Cram answered 
questions of crowding, of obscuring views of neighboring 
buildings, impairing the beauty of the house and grounds of 
Prospect, and while saying that the location was really none 
of his concern, he expressed a preference for a site such as 
Prospect at this time. He supported his opinion on the 
grounds that it would facilitate the unification of the 
campus and would be an architectural asset, as well as an 
educational one. In the Princeton Alumni Weekly he wrote, 
"it seems to me imperative that if it can be done without 
injury to the interests of the graduate students, the 
Graduate College should be in a place where it is insistently 
before the eyes of the undergraduates during their four 



74 

years' residence, looming large before them as the definite 
object of their undergraduate career. "^^ By citing archi- 
tectural and educational benefits, Cram appealed for broad- 
based University support. A majority of the University 
trustees and the President favored an on-campus location. 

Therefore^ while Cram voiced similar opinions, he was in the 

21 
mainstream of thought, a politically astute place to be. 

The opposition remained strong, however, and remained 

staunchly in favor of a location removed from the center 

of campus. 

In June of 1908 the Committee on Grounds and Buildings, 

on behalf of the Board of Trustees, announced the selection 

of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson as architects of the graduate 

school. Cram had spent a good deal of time personally 

conferring with various Princeton officials about the school 

22 
even before his firm's selection. Dean West and Hov/ard 

Crosby Butler, Professor of Art and Archaeology, conferred 

with Cram and outlined their ideas on the facilities to be 

contained wichin the school. These included a majority of 

single suites, including bed, bath, study and fireplace. 

Such a luxurious scheme met with the disapproval of the 

faculty committee, and its expense would have made it twice^ 

as expensive as the nicest undergraduate dormitory. While 

West and Butler voiced criticisms of the resultant plans 

incorporating these features, it appears that their under- 

2 3 
lying dissatisfaction lay in the site. Just as the 



75 
Prospect location and attendant plans to build there seemed 
to take a definite shape, Dean West announced the possibility 
of a major donation to the graduate school, on the condition 
that the complex be built off campus. The donor was William 
C. Procter of Cincinnati, who would give $500,000 to Princeton 
if a site, other than Prospect was chosen. When donations of 
several million dollars were offered, of which West was to be 
the executor, the golf links location was decided upon. On 
October 21, 1909, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution 
formally endorsing this site. In the face of such odds. 
President Wilson conceded that the various monies donated or 
bequeathed the University for the school, and their 
associated stipulations, had prevailed. "* In effect. Dean 
West took the reins of the consequent development of the 
school. 

Even with the issue of location resolved, problems with 
the Graduate School did not end. West thought Cram was 
sometimes slow and "'a trifle too florid,'" ^^ For the 
inauguration of Woodrow Wilson's successor, John Grier 
Hibben, West wanted visible progress on the school. A 
cornerstone would not do; West wanted walls. The inauguration 
was in May 1912, but even in October of that year the 
Cleveland Tower stood at just twenty feet. The slow progress 
was blamed on lack of detailed drawings. Moses Taylor Pyne 
said that the University should "'camp on Cram's tail and 
call them up three times a day until they get busy. '" 



76 

Cram felt that the Princeton officials had wasted time in 
making the decisions crucial to the development of the 
Graduate School. Then when they made their decisions, they 
apparently expected plans and drawings immediately. Cram 
wrote to Pyne expressing the thought that he and his office 
should have rushed through the project, rather than lavishing 
attention on it, if haste, rather than quality, was their 
main concern. "I have taken enormous pride in this particular 
building and have tried to make it not only the best thing 
we ourselves have ever done, but the most personal as well, 
and also, if it might be, the best example of Collegiate 
Gothic ever done in this country. . . . For a month we have 
held up v;ork en a dormitory, library, school in Exeter, N.H., 
a Science Building for Wheaton Seminary, . . .and a lot of 
small stuff that is almost equally important to the people 

interested in it. Above all we have had to treat Richmond 

27 
College abominably." The final product indicates that 

Cram did not succumb to his temper and shun quality for 

speed, as an examination of the complex will show. 

The change in location from Prospect, with its neighboring 

buildings, to an open knoll on a golf course required that an 

entirely new graduate school complex be planned. The new 

school was com.posed of the Cleveland Tower, the Great Kail and 

common areas, students' rooms, a Dean's House, and service 

areas. Entrance to the complex is gained by a large arch 

adjacent to the Cleveland Tower which dominates the group. 



77 
From this archway one may enter the commons areas of the 
school, or pass through to the first residential quadrangle. 
A second smaller residential quad lies to the north. 
(Plate 27) The plan is irregular due in part to the site, 
but also to the desire to mirror the irregularities of the 
Oxford and, Cambridge colleges. Masses were set off from one 
another by a few degrees so as not to become too rectangular. 

The two courtyards, for example, are not equilateral, nor 

• 28 
are entrance- or passageways on any axis. 

The Great Hall is the largest single area within the 
school. It is hardly noticeable from the quads, and the 
visitor would, from that vantage point, have difficulty 
locating it. While halls and chapels are prominent features 
of medieval English collegiate quadrangles , the same is not 
true at the Graduate College. It is only from the southern 
and western sides that the hall is clearly articulated, 
though even so it might be thought a chapel. (Plates 28 & 29) 
The rcofline of the residential area is broken by dormer 
windov;s , chimneys, and small towers, some of which are 
crenellated. The scale, numerous entrances, and fenestration 
clearly denote the area as residential. The irregularities 
in their recessions and projections give the courtyards 
intimacy akin to that of the choister. Many of the English 
courtyards do not possess such intimacy at all. Cram has 
here outdone his role mode. (Plate 30) 

The site of the Graduate College contributes to the 



78 
differences between the medieval English college and this 
one at Princeton. The college is situated on a knoll in an 
open field, and is a prominent feature on the landscape. 
The Graduate College is seen as an object in space, as there 
are no other structures on the site. Cleveland Tower can be 
seen from. afar as one approaches by either automobile or 
train, more comparable to Ely Cathedral than to an Oxford or 
Cambridge college. A rural, rather than urban setting, dis- 
tinguishes the college from English colleges. 

Cleveland Tower is in a position similar to that of an 
English college's gate tower. The tower is a memorial to 
former United States President and University trustee, Grover 
Cleveland. Plans for the tower were added to the college 
in October 1909; it was financed by popular subscription and 
was built between 1911-13. Due to the expense and to Woodrow 
Wilson's criticism that the original tower scheme was too 
similar to Day and Klauder's Holder Tower, Cram twice modified 
his plans. The tower remains a dominant feature of the 
college, as well as of the town and surrounding countryside. 
Cleveland Tower is a beacon for the University. Another 
courtyard south of the tower was planned, which would have 
brought the tower into the scheme more, but it was never 
built. The tower was to bespeak the strength and determina- 
tion of the man it memorialized. ^^ The base displays its 
solidity, while the ornament increases with its height. The 
ornament is largely the work of Frank Cleveland and Harold 



79 

Carswell, Cram's associates. The corner turrets are hexa- 
gonal, rather than the more common octagonal shape. Cram 
wrote that while designing this tower he became aware of the 
usefulness and versatility of the hexagon, its effectiveness 
in producing patterns of light and shade. Cram consequently 

used sixty' and thirty degree angles almost exclusively in 

31 
the tower's forms and planes. In the tower was a memorial 

room, on the east wall of which a bronze statue of Cleveland 

was to be placed, and on a floor above, a room for housing 

American history memorabilia. An ever-narrowing spiral stair 

leads to the top of the tower. The tower, like the graduate 

college itself, follows no particular stylistic precedent, 

nor is it modeled after one four-turreted, square topped 

example. Cram's desire was to give a modern aspect to 

fifteenth century English domestic/collegiate architecture 

for the school. (Plate 31) 

The Great Hall, named Procter Hall, is the most splendid 

work in the complex, as Cram, has here brought together many 

craftsmen to ply their trades. The hammerbeam ceiling is 

entirely wooden; the size of the trusses indicates their 

structural nature. Carved heads adorn each beam. (Plate 32) The 

eastern wall is covered with a choir screen of exquisite 

carving. (Plates 33&34) The room in many respects seems an 

aggrandized version of the sixteenth century hall from 

Hampton Court Palace. The west wall contains a large stained 

glass window representing the relation of the liberal arts 



80 
to Christian tradition. Dean West wanted the room to remind 

students of the days when universities were centers of 

Christian learning, and even though Cram tried to impress 

upon him that this was a secular room, West's influence was 

prevalent. Beneath the window is a motto of West's choosing: 

" Nee Vocemini iMagistri Quia Magister Vester Unus est Christus , " 

("And be ye not called masters, for one is your master, even 

32 
Christ.") The window was executed by William and Annie 

Lee Willet of Philadelphia. The window is essentially 
medieval in style and color. The lancet windows on the north 
and south sides of the room are plain. A large stone fire- 
place occupies one bay on the southern side. The service 
areas are off the hall and from the outside can be reached 
by a sunken roadway. 

The common rooms are adjacent to Procter Kail and 
their ornamentation is also of medieval derivation. (Plate 35 ) 
The exposed beams of the ceiling are chamfered, the major 
trusses are held by carved stone blocks. The mantles bear 
carving of the rich foliate variety seen in Procter Hall's 
choir screen. The windows are of leaded glass and several 
display stained glass armorial medallions executed by 
Charles Connick. Dean West chose seven coats of arms for 
these windows after consulting with an heraldic specialist 
in Cambridge, Mass.^^ West was also responsible for the 
Latin mottoes found throughout the school. " Tibi Solendet 

Focus " ("for thee the fireside glows") is found in the 

34 
commons, for example. 



81 
The Dean's House is a detached structure to the south- 
west of the main complex, and is named Wyman House. It was 
built under a separate contract from the Graduate School, 
and the stone was from a newly-opened quarry. -^ Construction 
began in the spring of 1912. It is two-and-a-half stories, 
of medieval English derivation, with an irregular plan. 
The front of the house opens onto a bluestone flagged terrace. 
(Plate 36 ) Architecture magazine described it as an "unusually 
good piece of residence work in the English style, as well as 
admirably proportioned to its position as part of a great 
group. . . ."36 Wyman House is situated so that while a part 
of the Graduate College, it maintains some privacy. The 
house looks away from the group, and there is a private garden 
between the house and the school. 

The Graduate College exhibits careful, studied planning. 
That the complex is based on the traditional English colle- 
giate quadrangle is clear. Yet the Princeton work is not 
modelled after one or two examples. The Graduate College 
is an amalgam of influences which have been reassembled to 
serve the particular needs of this institution. 

Each component of the complex serves its purpose well. 
The quadrangles are sufficiently domestic, the tower a 
suitable monument to a president and man involved with the 
planning of the school. Procter Hall and the comm.on rooms 
possess the collegiate spirit befitting a complex based on 
English precedent. Procter Hall borders on ecclesiastical. 



82 

reflecting the great influence that Dean West wielded 
throughout the planning and execution of the school. 

The Graduate College :nust, in many ways, be viewed as 
the handiwork of Cram and West, since both men had very 
definite ideas as to what the Graduate College should be. 
Fortunately, their inspiration sprang from the same source-- 
the medieval colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. 

Beatrix Jones Farrand of New York City was responsible 
for the landscaping of the Thomson Graduate College. It was 
completed in September 1913. Farrand' s work is characterized 
by a com±)ination of native American and imported plants in 
arrangements that exhibit English influence. Landscaping 
at the Graduate College is informal and consists largely of 
foundation plantings. It is very compatible with the rolling 
site. 

The school was dedicated October 22, 1913, seventeen 
years after the decision to become a university and to begin 
a graduate school. Princeton's Graduate College won wide 
acclaim architecturally. The university was lauded for the 
homogeneity and unity gained by building the complex at one 
time under the supervision of one architect. At the time it 
was built there was hardly a college complex to rival it. 
Cram himself was very pleased and proud of the work. Claim- 
ing it exemplified the same spirit of classicism as did 
Oxford and Cambridge, Cram said the school was "'the best 
thing which I have ever done, or ever expect to do . ' " -^ 



83 
Cram's opinion was that structural integrity underlay 

good architecture, which was itself "'primarily a matter of 
form, proportion, composition, well chosen materials and 
absolute honesty of construction .'" ^8 judging the Graduate 
College on these terms, the school would be deemed an example 
of good architecture. But was it, as Cram said, the best 
thing he would ever do? It was certainly the best oppor- 
tunity Cram yas ever to have to recreate an English scholas- 
tic environment on such a scale. The complex exhibits his 
comprehensive grasp of his English model, not just architec- 
turally, but spiritually. Cram's opinion that a building 
should " declare its spiritual and intellectual lineage, " ^^ 
is borne out in the Thompson College. There is no doubting 
what that lineage is. Each critic of Cram's work might 
choose a different building which he felt to be Cram's best. 
Using the architect's own standards of judgment, however, 
Princeton's Graduate College is certainly deserving of a 
high rating. 

The Princeton Chapel 

The last major work which Cram executed during his term 
as Supervising Architect was the Princeton Chapel. Cram had 
included a proposed chapel in his original development plan 
for the University, to be located south of McCosh Hall. When 
Marquand Chapel burned in May 1920, the need for a new chapel 
was compounded. President Hibben recognized the need for the 
chapel and encouraged its building "for the purpose of 



84 

preserving the continuity of the religious tradition of 
Princeton, which had its origin in the faith and hope of the 
early founders of the College one hundred and seventy-five 
years ago.' In keeping with University policy was the 
decision for a Gothic-style building. The commission was 
given to Cram and Ferguson (Goodhue having left the firm by 
this time) . 

It was decided to locate the Chapel north of McCosh 
Walk near the Marquand site. As with the Graduate School, 
there was a controversy over the building's location. Just 
as he had done in the former controversy. Cram campaigned to 
the Princeton community for the site he preferred. In an 
article in the June 1, 1921, issue of the Princeton Alumni 
Weekly , Cram cited several reasons for the location he pre- 
ferred. The site just north of the former Marquand site was 
"ideal" architecturally. Stylistically the Chapel would be 
in good company, and with McCosh and Dickinson Halls the 
Chapel would form a quadrangle v/ith the Mather Sun Dial at 
its center. McCosh would have to be extended to form a quad, 
but that would provide room for future classroom expansion. 
Answering the criticism that the site was not sufficiently 
central to the University, Cram contended that the school 
would, indeed, be expanding eastwardly, and that if the 
Chapel were not built there, the site would remain vacant 
for a long while. The nearness to the former chapel site 
provided sentimental appeal, also. 



85 
There was a good deal of philosophizing as to what 

purposes the Chapel should fulfill. President Hibben stressed 
the symbolic role it should play: it should emphasize the 
place religion has in life, in the value of things eternal. 
Physically the Chapel should be the "consummation of Prince- 
ton's architectural endeavor and achievement.' Cram 
characteristically emphasized both the philosophical and 
architectural aims of the building, stressing the magnitude 
of the undertaking and in a burst of campaign rhetoric stated 
that the Chapel could only be successful "through the intimate 
cooperation of all those who are interested in the work.""^^ 

Watercolors and drawings from the Cram office illustrate 
the Chapel's evolution, as well as Cram's role in the work. 
An early watercolor by Alexander Hoyle has the same massing 
as does the Chapel as built. (Plate 37 ) The west front has 
no triforium screen, and the uppermost window contains three 
trefoils. Very small crosses enliven the roof line with a 
large cross at the ridge. Buttresses flanking the large 
central window emphasize the west facade by their extension. 
VJithin the buttresses are vertically placed sculptural niches. 

Two later renderings illustrate the chapel with a square 
tower at the crossing. (Plates 38 & 39 ) In these versions 
the aisles are more clearly expressed on the exterior. The 
tower of one drawing bears pinnacles, is crenellated and has 
four lancets to a side. The tower of the other drawing is 
less ornate, and has two lancets per side. The massing of 



36 

these two drawings, as well as the fenestration, is very 
similar, A third drawing of the same style (Plate 40 ) 
shows no tower, but rather a turret to the northwest of the 
crossing and a slight increase in ornament which stresses 
the building's verticality. 

A scheme by Hoyle, dated 192 4, shows a simplified roof- 
line on the west front with only a finial on the ridge. 
(Plate 41) The niches on the buttresses have been relocated 
and have decreased in size, while the buttresses, especially 
at the top, have taken on a different shape. While they are 
now more massive at their bases, they are more ornate as they 
approach the roof line. Below the great window there is a 
balcony which is behind a carved screen. A lancet windov/ is 
now used above the triforium screen. 

A plaster model also dating from 1924 shows the changes 
which Cram gave Koyle's renderings. The buttresses of the 
west front are more slender as are their niches. The triforium 
arcade has been made m.ore vertical, as has the entire composi- 
tion. The roof line again bears crockets climaxing with a 
fanciful finial. The detail work and renderings were 
apparently Hoyle 's responsibility while Cram was away in 
Europe , because Cram made these changes to the drawings 
which Hoyle -had mailed abroad to him. ^'^ 

The Chapel's evolution as traced in the drawings shows 
little change in proportion and massing. The fenestration 
remains much the same also. The drawings best illustrate 



37 
the proposals for marking the crossing, whether by tower or 
turret. Changes in the amount and type of ornament are shown. 
The exterior ornamentation of the transepts follows that of 
the west front in all examples. In the two drawings which 
focus on the west facade, an arcade is shown on the southern 
side. The composition of the north side differs little in 
the drawings. 

Construction on the Chapel was begun in 1925. The 
footings and foundations are concrete, and the remainder of 
the building is masonry. There is steel above the vaulting 
to minimize the potential for fire. The exterior is Pennsyl- 
vania and New Jersey sandstone trimmed in Indiana limestone. 
The Chapel is cruciform in plan though the transepts are 
fairly shallow. (An early plan had not included transepts 
at all. ) 

The aisle walls and buttresses are characterized by 
their solidity. Only in the clerestory does the masonry give 
way to glass. The exterior is distinguished more by its 
forms and massing than by ornament. Exterior ornair.ent is 
largely refined to portals (Plates 42 & 43), transepts, the 
tracery of the windows, and the east and west elevations. 
Rich stone carving surrounds the western entrance. (Plate 44 ) 
The tympanum scene depicts Christ in Majesty amongst symbolic 
representations of xMatthew, Mark, Luke and John. The 
University coat of arms is beneath the tympanum. (Plate 45 ) 
The great west window occupies the largest portion of the 



88 

west facade. Above it is the triforium arcade which through 
its carving creates patterns of light and shade, and provides 
depth and relief to the facade. The uppermost window is a 
small trefoil. The roofline is enlivened with crockets and 
a finial. Each buttress is capped with a similar finial, 
while the' ridge at the eastern end is marked by a cross. 

The Chapel is not derived from one stylistic influence, 
but is rather a combination of English, French and Spanish 
motifs. The architects' intent was to move a step beyond 
the Gothic forms "and lay hold in some degree of the inner 
principles so that this building m.ight not only express in 
some degree the lasting truths of essential life that are 
not conditioned by time and change, but also play that 

evocative and creative part that marked the career of its 

45 
predecessors in the direct line." Many of the elements-- 

f enestration , tracery, buttresses, and interior features-- 

are most like features from the m.iddle or Decorated period 

of English Gothic. The west front with its verticality 

stressed by piers and its triforium gallery are more similar 

to early French Gothic examples. 

Certain features of the Princeton University Chapel can 

be seen elsewhere in Cram and Ferguson's work. The small 

triangular pediment atop the west front of the Chapel was 

a feature of the firm's work. The squared buttresses 

without turrets were used at the First Baptist Church in 

Pittsburgh and at the Chapel of the Intercession, New York 



8 9. 

City. Variations on this were used at Calvary Church, 

Pittsburgh, the Euclid Avenue Presbyterian Church, Cleveland, 
and the Sacred Heart Church in Jersey City, New Jersey ."^"^ 

The interior of the Princeton Chapel is limestone with 
the addition of acoustic blocks. Cram had previously used 
special acoustical materials at St. Thomas Church, New York 
City. The interior bays are well-defined so that the west 
to east progression is deliberate, but not forced. The 
vaulting is of uniform height through the long nave. The 
aisles are narrow, the chancel deep. The chancel was planned 
so that it might be used for small services preventing wor- 
shippers from feeling lost in the vastness of the Chapel as 
a whole. The northern transept, named after the former 
chapel, may be used as a small chapel for daily services, also, 

Vertically the Chapel is divided into the arcade, tri- 
forium and clerestory. The vaulting is quadripartite. The 
interior was originally planned to resemble Exeter Cathe- 
dral's lierne vaulting, with floor length vault shafts in the 

A Q 

French fashion. ° 

Stained glass windows of varying sizes illuminate the 
Chapel. The window at the west end is especially large, and 
depicts "The Second Coming of Christ," and is the work of 
Nicola d'Ascenzo. The windows of the choir all relate to 
the theme of Christ as Divine Love, and of the love between 
God and mankind. The east window is of "The Love of Christ." 
Four other windows in the choir represent Christian epics 



90 
from literature. These are from Dante's Divine Comedy , 
Bunyon ' s Pilgrim' s Progress , Milton's Paradise Lost , and 
Malory's Le Morte d' Arthur . These windows are by Charles 
Connick. The traceried transept windows are of "Christ the 
Martyr" (north transept), and "Christ the Teacher" (south 
transept). Three artists executed these windows. Each bay 

of the nave has one large clerestory window and a smaller 

4 9 
aisle window. The windows of the nave are the work of a 

variety of artists including Henry Lee Willet, Wilbur Herbert 
Burnham, Oliver Smith, Frank Ellsworth Weeder and H. W. 
Goodhue. In the choir wooden characters are carved on the 
tops of the pews. They range from mythological figures 
(Orpheus), to theologians (St. Gregory, St. Thomas Aquinas, 
St. Ambrose) to philosophers (A.ristotle and Pythagoras) and 
such leaders as Alfred the Great and Charlemagne. The pews 
are the work of church outfitters Irving and Casson of East 
Cambridge, Mass."* 

In his desire to combine ecclesiastical and collegiate 
architecture. Cram considered the examples at Oxford and 
Cambridge. Cram compared the Chapel at Princeton to King's 
College Chapel in size and plan. The chapels are approxi- 
mately the same width and height. The plans are similar 
with their long, lofty naves. The Princeton Chapel has 
shallow transepts, while King's College Chapel has none. 
The vaulting, ornamentation, and the amount of glass also 
contribute to the great dissimilarity between the two. 



91 
The Princeton design follows "closely these lines already 

established, yet they are in no respect either copies of 

any existing chapel or a synthesis of many. The plan is the 

traditional plan of the college chapel, as this worked itself 

out to its culmination in the great Chapel of King's College, 

Cambridge. . . . ' 

Cram's last design for Princeton was the Rothschild 

Memorial Arch, which connects the extension of McCosh Kail, 

called Dickinson, to the east end of the Chapel. S. F. 

Rothschild desired to memorialize his son in some way at 

Princeton. President Hibben and University Secretary Varnura 

Lansing Collins discussed the idea with Cram in January 1929. 

Rothschild had suggested an aracade. Cram countered with the 

suggestion of a spire for the Chapel, which had not been 

built earlier due to a lack of funds. The Chapel had been 

built so that a tower or spire could be added later. If 

an archway or gate were the donor's preference. Cram suggested 

5 2 
the location between Dickinson and the Chapel. The arch 

thereby represented the joining of the religious and academic 

aspects of the University. 

A memorial arch was decided upon, and in March 1929, 

Alexander Hoyle was in Princeton to discuss the memorial 

with Rothschild and Charles Z. Klauder, who was the architect 

for the McCosh extension. Hoyle reported to Cram that Klauder 

considered himself the architect of the archway even though 

the donor preferred Cram. In a letter to President Hibben, 

Cram expressed the assumption that since it was Rothschild's 



92 

wish that Cram handle the arch, that wish would be honored. -^ 
On the sair.e day Hibben wrote to Cram to say that he would 
prefer Klauder to supervise the work, as he could give it 
more personal attention. (The Crams were shortly leaving 
for Europe for several months.) Klauder would be there to 
supervise, the work on Dickinson Hall. Hibben encouraged 
Cram to send his ideas and sketches to Klauder so that the 
latter could carry them out. 

Several days later Cram resigned his position as 
Supervising Architect. Cram wrote to Hibben on March 29, 1929, 
after the announcement and said: "No, your decision as to the 
archway was not the cause of my resignation except insofar as 
it was another in the list of recent events that had convinced 
me that it was time the university had a change in its super- 
vising architect . "-^-^ Cram did not sever his relationship 
with the University entirely. He first completed projects on 
which he was working. 

Hibben ' s proposal of cooperation between Cram and Klauder 
on the Rothschild Arch did not bring about the result Hibben 
would have liked. This is indicated in a letter of September 
30, 1929, from Rothschild to Cram, in which it is evident 
that Rothschild is employing Cram as his architect. Rothschild 
therein acknowledged receipt of Cram's three schemes for the 
arch, approval of a scheme and acceptance of a S28,200 bid 
for its construction. ^° Rothschild made a suggestion 
regarding the ornament of the arch, and postponed a decision 



93 
regarding an inscription. The stone memorial as built is 
roughly rectangular, the top of which is stepped, and is 
pierced by two arches which are outlined by a molding of 
crockets. (Plate 46) Long shallow niches are at either side 
of the arches. A plaque above the arches bears the memorial 
inscription. In presenting the arch to the University, 
Rothschild made a tribute to its architect,: "'To Mr. Ralph 
Cram and his Associate, Mr. Hoyle, I desire to make an 
acknowledgment for their painstaking endeavor to place here 
a memorial that is truly expressive of what we and they 
desired to commemorate.'"^"^ 

There were, undoubtedly, other accomplishments which 
Cram would have preferred to have been his last at Princeton. 
He would have liked to have seen Dodd Hall moved from the 
long axis that he had hoped would be clear. Cram had hoped 
for another location for the small train station other than 
the site below the gymnasium. While there were still hard 
feelings over the design of the Rothschild Arch, Cram 
expressed displeasure over the extension of McCosh Hall so 
far to the north. "I know this will grievously conflict 
with the east end of the chapel and my final acceptance of 
Mr. Klauder's scheme was against my better judgment." He 
continued to describe the resulting arrangement as "an 
unfortunate architectural composition ." 58 Despite this 
last incident, Cram seems to have genuinely enjoyed his 
association with the Universitv. He developed friendshios 



94 

with the leaders of the prestigious institution, and with the 
sometime exception of Dean West, they sought his advice and 
respected his opinions. Much of Cram's plan was instituted 
while he served as Supervising Architect; this Cram described 
as "one of the great experiences of my life."^^ 

While Cram's ideal for university development was to 
emulate Oxford and Cambridge, he did not slavishly adhere to 
his archetype. In a New York Times editorial from 1923 
Princeton's architectural achievements were praised. 
"'Planned with foresight, and making allowances for growth, 
it has been possible to erect a series of buildings which 
are second only to the old colleges at Oxford and Cam- 
bridge.'" While Princeton's buildings were collegiate 
Gothic, their stylistic source was not only English. Cram 
acknowledged that his work had been equally inspired by 
French and Spanish Gothic. Joining these varierals , Cram 
referred to Princeton as "a Gothic epitome.""-'- Continental 
influences can be seen most easily at the Chapel, English 
influences at the Graduate College. McCormick Hall is the 
most individualistic of the Cram, buildings in its efforts 
to serve as an harmonious companion to neighboring buildings. 
McCormick is also the most obvious example of Cram's 
eclecticism on the Princeton campus. 

In plan. Cram divided the campus with two main arteries 
for vision as well as for nrocession. Within this large 
scheme emphasis was placed on the unity, the cohesiveness 



95 

of the whole. Smaller groupings of buildings, forming 
quadrangles wherever possible, created more intimate spaces 
and supplied the charm associated with Oxford and Cam.bridge. 
In his planning Cram combines a classical approach of axial 
vistas with the quad plan of English Collegiate Gothic. In 
both, Cram's plans stress organization and order. Even today, 
the Princeton campus exhibits a plan in many ways indebted 
to Ralph Adams Cram. 



Conclusion 

Ralph Adam Cram's work on the campuses of Princeton Uni- 
versity and Sweet Briar College shows his versatility in 
working with historic styles of architecture. Rather than 
designing solely in the Gothic Revival style, as many thought 
he did. Cram reviewed each project before determining its most 
appropriate style. The criteria which he considered were the 
architectural traditions of the locale, the history and his- 
toric associations of the school, the climate, and the building 
materials native to the area^ Where Gothic was anpropriate, 
it was employed; if collegiate Georgian was more in order, 
that style was utilized. 

While Cram was not averse to employing different archi- 
tectural styles, the quality of the work done in different 
styles was not necessarily equal. Cram was more creative with 
Gothic forms than he was with Georgian, and consequently his 
work at Princeton University is, on the whole, better than 
that at Sweet Briar College. 

Traditional styles of architecture were chosen for the 
physical development of Princeton and Sweet Briar. The 
styles are indicative not only of the institutions' traditions 
and history, but also of the images the schools wished to 
project. The selection of an historic style evokes a tradition 
and infuses the institution with the symbolism and connotations 



97 
of the style. In both cases, the styles are of English deri- 
vation, though from different periods. 

Sweet Briar College's style is, like so much of Virginia's 
architecture, an adaptation of English Georgian, suited to 
the needs of an American college. Because of its availability, 
brick was 'the most logical building material. No style would 
be more logical for an historicist to use in the Virginia 
Piedmont than collegiate Georgian. In The Colonial Revival , 
VJilliam B. Rhoads suggests that Colonial Revival architecture 
was employed at women's colleges because it is identified with 
femininity. Rhoad.s cites the Georgian-style work at Wheaton 
College (where Cram and Ferguson also worked) , Mt . Vernon 
Seminary in Washington, D.C., and the original women's campus 
of Duke University to support his thesis. 

The choice of collegiate Georgian for Sweet Briar was 
as practical as it was symbolic. Given the availability of 
funds, and the skills of local workmen, this style was the 
most feasible for the college. It was sure to be accepted, 
both by Virginians who were acquainted with the style as 
appropriate for educational institutions, and by trustees 
and parents of prospective students. 

The selection of collegiate Gothic at the College of Mew 
Jersey coincided with. that school's decision to become Prince- 
ton University. The new style signalled a changed image. 
University officials wanted the school to become a leading 
university, and modelled Princeton physically and educationally 



98 

after British and European universities. By clothing the 
school in the Gothic of medieval English universities, Dean 
Andrew F, West and other like-minded men hoped to embody the 
spirit and tradition of the ideal medieval college. 

Cram's collegiate architecture must be seen in light of 
the architectural developments of this period. The Gothic and 
Georgian Revival styles were the most popular styles for 
colleges and universities in the early twentieth century. 
Cope and Stewardson's work on the campuses of Bryn Mawr College, 
the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, as well as James 
Gamble Rogers' work at Yale University, are philosophically 
similar to Cram's work at Princeton. A. W. Longfellow, Jr. 
introduced Colonial Revival buildings to Harvard and Radcliffe 
at approximately the same time as Cram's Sweet Briar employment. 

The alternative to historical styles was modern archi- 
tecture. Modern architecture was viewed by many architects of 
the early twentieth century as impersonal, and by some as 
industrial. Cram strongly opposed the modernists' rejection 
of history and historicism. It was Cram's opinion that 
educational institutions, even society itself, had a base in 
history. "There is no such thing, properly speaking, as a 

'new' style, and there never can be a 'new' art cut off from 

2 
the succession of the past." To have abandoned the styles 

which had become associated with educational institutions in 

favor of a style so new would have been risky. If modern 

architecture rejected history, did it follow that a school 

employing it rejected history? Was the style which was 



99 
thought to glorify the machine appropriate for liberal arts 

« 

colleges? 

The standards of traditionalism were the ones that 
colleges and universities in the early twentieth century were 
trying to inculcate. Such values were largely of nineteenth 
century origin. The historicism of Ralph Adams Cram was 
signally appropriate to the collegiate architecture of the 
period, as his work at Sweet Briar College and Princeton 
University demonstrates. 



FOOTNOTES 

Introduction 

Henry-Russell Hitchcock defines historicism as "the 
reuse of forms borrowed from the architectural styles of the 
past, usually in more or less new combinations." Henry- 
Russell Hitchcock, Architecture : Nineteenth and Twentieth 
Centuries (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1977), 
p. 626, Footnote 1, 

2 

Ralph 'Adams Cram. "Have I a Philosophy of Design?" 

Pencil Points , 13, November 1932, p. 731. 

3 

Cram. My Life in Architecture , hereafter cited as 

My Life . (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1936) , p. 238. 

4 

Nancy Millette, rev. of My Li f e in Architecture , 

bv Raloh Adams Cram, The Art Bulletin , 20, Seotember 1938, 
p'. 333'. 

Instances of Cram's campaigning for proposals v;hich had 
the support of Princeton University administrators are cited 
in Chapter IV. 

Chapter I 

For a fuller description of Cram's literary efforts and 
involvement with the Boston literati of the 1890s, see Robert 
Muccigrosso, American Gothic ; The Mind and Art of Ralph 

University Press of America, 



The Yankee Medievalist," 
1931, p. 79. 



Adams 
1980) 


Cram. (Washin 
, pp. 23-48. 


gton, D.C 




Cram, My Life, 


P' 


213. 


George H. Allen, ' 
Architectural Forum, 55, 


Cram: 
July 



4 

The question arose as to how much architectural v;ork 

Cram was actually responsible for, in light of his numerous 
achievements and contributions in so many other areas. 
Douglass S. Tucci writes in Ralph Adams Cram : A merican 
Medievalist . (Boston: Boston Public Library, 1975) , p. 12: 

"His architectural reputation declined all the more 
quickly, therefore, after his death, because many of his 
peers--some, no doubt, out of jealousy, others more sincerely- 
denied him any substantial architectural accomplishment in 
the first place. And though his other accomplishments (no 
one doubted he wrote his own books) were not so easily dis- 
missed, their sum only tended to confuse, and to make Cram 
an incredible figure." 



102 



^Ibid. , 


P- 


27. 


^Ibid. , 


pp. 


46-47 


"^Ibid. , 


pp. 


29-30 


^Ibid. , 


P- 


37. T 



The individuals and firms with whom he 
credited this feat were Henry Hobson Richardson, McKira, Mead 
and White, Carrere and Hastings, and the Englishman Henry 
Vaughan who had come to this country to work. Vaughan had 
studied under English architect George Bodley, whose 
Gothic Revival churches Cram so much admired. 

9 

Cram, "Have I a Philosophy of Design?" Pencil Points , 

13, November 1932, p. 730. 

Whether this partnership was set up in 1889 or 1890 
is discussed briefly by Muccigrosso, p. 70, footnote 32. 

Cram was able to spend a good deal of money on this 
church, as it was being financed by Col. and Mrs. Oliver 
Peabody, Peabody being a founder of Kidder, Peabody and 
Co., brokers. For more on All Saints', Ashmont, see Douglass 
S. Tucci, All Saints Church r An Introduction to the Archi- 
tecture of Ralph Adams Cram (Boston: New York Graohic Society, 
1973) . 

12 

For more on Goodhue,- see Charles Harris Whitaker (ed.). 

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, Architect and Master of Many Arts 
(New York: Press of the American Institute of Architects, 
1925) . 

Cram, My Life , pp. 77-78. 

Ibid . , p. 78. This was particularly true of Cram's 
efforts to prove that Gothic architecture was still a viable 
and vital style. 

Tucci, Cram: American Medievalist , p. 15. 

Cram, My Life , p. 127. 



Chapter II 

Cram, "Recent University Architecture in the United 
States," Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects , 
XIX, 25 May 1912, p. 499. 

2 

Ashton R. Willard, "The Development of College Archi- 
tecture in America," The New England Magazine , 22, July 
1897, p. 513. 



103 

Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., "College Architecture in New 
England before 1360 in Printed and Sketched Views," Antiques , 
10 3, March 197 3, p. 502. 

"^ Ibid . , p. 504. 

^Ibid. , p. 505. 

^ Ibid . , p. 507. 

7 
John M. Bryan, An Architectural History of the South 

Carolina College , 1801-1855 (Columbia, S.C.: University of 

South Carolina Press, 1976) p. 28. 

g 

Edward T. Potter designed the central circular building, 
Nott-Potter Memorial Hall, in a Victorian Gothic mode, 
modelling it on the Baptistery of Pisa. Montgomery Schuyler, 
"Architecture of American Colleges, IX," The Architectural 
Record , XXX, December 1911, pp. 551-52. 

9 
Cram, "Recent University Architecture," p. 500. 

About Williams, Schuyler wrote: "There was, indeed, so 
little in the early architecture of Williams which compelled 
or invited conformity that it is less remarkable and culpable 
here than on some other campuses that each succeeding archi- 
tect, when the college or its benefactors began to employ 
architects, should have done what was right in his own eyes 
without reference to the past or the future and have dis- 
tinguished himself and his particular benefactor by his 
exceptionality." Schuyler, "Architecture of American 
Colleges, VI," The Architectural Record , X>r>7III, December 
1910, p. 436. 

Schuyler, "Architecture of American Colleges, I: 
Harvard," The Architectural Record, XX^7I , October 19 09, 
pp. 248, 251. 

12 

For a more in-depth study of the development of Stanford 

University and the personalities which shaped it, see Paul V. 

Turner, The Founders and the Architects : The Design of 

Stanford University (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 

1976) . 

The definition of a development plan was given by Jens 
F. Larson and Archie M. Palmer, Architectural Planning of the 
American College (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Co. , 
Inc., 1933) p. 46. "It is a summary of the growth of the 
institution to date and a comprehensive brief of future needs. 
Based upon a profound study of the college--its educational 
objectives; the spiritual, social and recreational needs of 



104 

its students; the demands to be made upon it in future 
years--the development plan is both the embodiment of an 
ideal and a practical guide to the realization of that ideal." 

14 

Thomas E. Tallmadge, "Selling Phidias Et Al. to the 

Trustees," American Architect , 129, May 5, 1926, p. 489. 

Cram, "Recent University Architecture," p. 510. 

1 fi 

Between 1852 and 1897, everything built at Yale was in 

a Gothic or other medieval style. Willard, p. 522. 

Cram defined architectural poetry as including 
"emotional appeal, historic suggestions, ethnic and racial 
memories." Ralph Adams Cram, "The Works of Messrs. Cope 
and Stewardson," The Architectural Record , XVI, November 
1904, p. 411. 

-"■^Ibid. , pp. 414-15. 

19 

Schuyler, "The Architecture of West Point," The 

Architectural Record , XIV, December 1903, p. 490. 

20 

Cram, My Life , p. 12 4.- 

21 

Ibid . ,. p . 1 2 5 . 

22 

For an m-depth study of Rice architecture, see 

Stephen Fox, The General Plan of the William M. Rice Institute 
and Its Architectural Development , Monograph 29, School of 
Architecture, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 1980. 

23 

A. D. F. Hamlin, "The Educational Influence of 

Collegiate Architecture," The Architectural Forum, 
XLIII, December 1925, p. 326. 



Chapter III 

Gay Patteson, "Sweet Briar College History, 1900- 
19 6," Sweet Briar Alumnae News , 1, June 193 2, p. 19. 

"Cram, Mv Life , p. 124. 

Ibid . , p. 131. Cram, in the latter quote, v/as 
referring to the architecture of Richmond and the James 
River houses. Savannah and Charleston. Cram had become 
acquainted with this area through his Virginia wife and 
her relatives. 



105 

Cram, "Have I a Philosophy of Design?" Pencil Points, 
13, November 1932, p. 731. The combination of a Gothic 
building with a Protestant or Georgian spirit, however, was 
patently incompatible. Cram felt that there was "something 
incongruous in using Catholic Gothic to express the ethos 
of that Protestantism which had revolted against all things 
Catholic. ..." Cram, My Life, p. 96. 

Paul V. Turner, "The Collaborative Design of Stanford 
University," in The Founders and the Architects : The Design 
of Stanford University (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 
1976), p. 60. Turner cites these as purposes of the 
Stanford arcades, as well as others. 

Werner Hegemann and Elbert Peets, The American 
Vitruvius : An Architects ' Handbook of Civic~Art (New York: 
The Architectural Book Publishing Company, 1922), pp. 110-11. 

3 
Martha Lou Lemmon Stohlman , The Story of Sweet Briar 

College (Sweet Briar: Alumnae Association of Sweet Briar 

College, 1956) , p. 53. 

9 

Dr. Mary K. Benedict, "Sweet Briar, 1906-1916," 

Sweet Briar Alumnae News, 1, November 1937, p. 5. 

H. Stafford Bryant, Jr., "Classical Ensemble," Arts 
in Virginia , II, Winter, 1971, p. 24. Bryant suggests that 
the Cupola may have been inspired by, or adapted from, an 
end pavilion from the Palladian Bridge at Wilton, designed 
by Robert Morris. He further suggests that Sweet Briar's 
pavilion inspired a similar one at Randolph-Macon Women's 
College in Lynchburg. The Lynchburg structure was designed 
by Stanhope Johnson. 

Ibid . , p. 23 . 

12 

Benedict, "Sweet Briar, 1906-1916," Sweet Briar 

Alumnae News, 7/ November 1937, p. 5. This is the only 
mention made of the loss. Dr. Benedict described them as 
"the fine set of architects' drawings. ..." 

Several changes were made in the original plans in 
order to save money. Among them, window arches on three 
sides of the building were changed to brick with stone keys; 
and, excepting its base, the balustrade is wooden. There 
are several letters between the architects, Pres. Glass, 
the contractor John P. Pettyjohn and Company, and Economy 
Concrete Company of Virginia. The architects strongly 
favored ILmestone, and ultimately its expense was authorized 
by benefactor Fergus Reid. "Changes in Plans and Specifi- 
cations, Library, Sweet Briar College," President's Office 
File: Library 1927 , 1928 & 1929 . Fletcher Hall, Sweet 
Briar College. (Hereafter cited as SBC.) 



106 

14 

"Ralph Adams Cram," Sweet Briar Alumnae News, 

October 1942, p. 13. 

Ibid . , p. 13 . 

1 6 

Meta Glass, Letter to C. N. Godfrey, 27 May 1929, 

President's Office File: Library 1927 , 1928 &_ 1929 , 
Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

Charles Gillette, Letter to Meta Glass, 22 November 
1929, President's Office File: Miscellaneous Correspondence , 
1929 , A-H , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

1 8 

Glass, Letter to Charles Gillette, 29 October 1929, 

President's Office File: Miscellaneous Correspondence 1929 , 

A-H , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

19 

Glass, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 21 October 1940, 

President's Office File: A-G , 1940 , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

20 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 25 October 1940, 

President's Office File: A-G , 1940 , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

21 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 5 September 1930, Presi- 
dent's Office File: Gymnasium , 1930 &_ 1931 , Fletcher Hall, 
SBC. 

22 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 17 December 1935, President's 

Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

23 

Glass, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 17 December 1936, 

President's Office File: A-C , 1936 &_ 1937 , Fletcher Hall, 

SBC. 

24 

Godfrey, Letter to Meta Glass, 19 January 1937, 

President's Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 , Fletcher Hall, 
SBC. 

25 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 21 July 1937, President's 

Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

26 

Glass, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 29 September 1937, 

President's Office File: A-C , 1936 St_ 1937 , Fletcher Hall, 

SBC. 

27 

Cram, Letters to Meta Glass, 15 October 1937, 28 

October 1937, 15 November 1937, President's Office File: 

A-C , 1936 & 1937 , Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

28 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 1 March 1938. President's 

Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 . Fletcher Hall, SBC. 



i 



107 

29 

Glass, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 26 July 1937, 

President's Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 . Fletcher 

Hall, SBC. 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 25 August 1937, Presi- 
dent's Office File: A-C , 1936 & 1937 . Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

Cram, Letter to Meta Glass, 27 November 1940, Presi- 
dent's Office File: A-G , 1940 . Fletcher Hall, SBC. 

32 

Bryant, 'Classical Ensemble," Arts in Virginia , II, 

Winter 1971, p. 24. 

33 

The Sweet Briar work was published in architectural 

periodicals, including The Brickbuilder and American Architect 
and Building News, 77, 23 August 1902, plate section. 



Chapter IV 

Cram, "Princeton Architecture,." The American Architect , 
96, 21 July 1909, p. 22. 

2 

Cram, "The Architectjaral Development of the University, " 

Princeton Al'umni Weekly, VIII, 6 May 1908, p. 504. 

3 
Also in 1907, President Wilson proposed that the 

University house students in residential colleges, along 

the lines of Oxford and Cambridge. Within each college 

would be preceptors, a resident master, a dining hall, and 

common room. The purpose of Wilson's plan was social 

reorganization of the University. The implications were 

architectural, and had the plan been implemented, it would 

have required a-rchitectural changes to the physical plant. 

4 

Henry B. Thompson, "University Campus Development," 

Princeton Alumni Weekly, XXV, 21 January 1925, p. 346. 

Constance Grieff, Mary W. Gibbons and Elizabeth G. C. 
Menzies. Princeton Architecture : A Pictorial History of 
Town and Campus (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 
1967) p. 30.^ 

Cram, "The Architectural Development of the University," 
Princeton Alumni Weekly , IX, 9 December 1908, p. 169. By 
calling the central campus "sacred," Cram appealed to alumni 
sentiment. When East College was razed in 1896 to make way 
for Pyne Library, alumni called it "the Crim.e of Ninety-Six." 
A strong feeling remained that the other older buildings 
should be left standing. 



108 

7 

Grieff, Princeton Architecture , p. 164. 

The timing of the college's decision to become a university 
and to adopt collegiate Gothic is very coincidental, as 
Montgomery Schuyler points out: "Most of the sensibility and 
enthusiasm of the architectural profession in this country 
was in those years (1870-80) directed to the promotion of the 
Gothic re-vival ,. and it was, naturally, among the sensitive 
and cultivated practitioners of architecture that Princeton, 
like other American colleges, sought its architects. And 
it so happened that the eruption of the Gothic revival pretty 
closely synchronized with the addition of 'college bred' 
young men to the practice of architecture." Schuyler, 
"Architecture of American Colleges, III: Princeton," The 
Architectural Record , 27, February 1910, p. 146. 

g 

Cram, "The Work of Messrs. Cope and Stewardson," 
The Architectural Record , 16/ Novem.ber 1904, p. 423. 

9 

Cram, "The Architectural Development of the University," 

Princeton Club of New York, December 5, 1908, in Princeton 
Alumni Weekly , IX, 9 Decem.ber 1908, pp. 168-69. 
The "Pleasure Park" was Cram's term for a campus in a land- 
scaped garden with its curving paths which he found affectedly 
picturesque. The "University Plan meant a great composition 
forming a homogeneous whole, made up of units, indeed, but 
coordinated even to the eye, the whole concentrating around 
the central space where the historical cannon forms the 
geographical centre of the entire University." Ibid . , p. 
16 9. This was the area surrounding Nassau Hall. 

Cram, "The Architectural Development of the University," 
Princeton Alumni Weekly , VIII, 6 May 19 08, p. 504. 

Cram, "Princeton Architecture," The American Architect , 
96, 21 July 1909, p. 27. 

12 

Writing in 1910, Montgomery Schuyler thought that 

University Hall was the only "doomed" building on camipus, 
having "long outlived the purpose of its creation," partic- 
ularly as its demolition would allow for the completion of 
the northwestern corner of the campus with a double quad for 
freshmen. Schuyler, "Architecture of American Colleges, III: 
Princeton," The Architectural Record , 27, February 1910, 
p. 158. 

Cram, "The Architectural Development of the University," 
Princeton Alumni Weekly , VIII, 6 May 1908, p. 506. 
Campbell is also referred to as ' 77 Hall in Princeton litera- 
ture, as it was the gift of the Class of 1877. 



109 

14 

Untitled, Princeton Alumni Weekly , VIII, April 1/ 

1903, p. 419. 

The Mather Sun Dial was presented to Princeton by 
Sir William Mather, of —London-, and is a replica of the six- ' 
teenth century Turnbull Sun Dial at Corpus Christi College,' v.. -' 
Oxford. It symbolizes the association between the two ■• »' 
schools as well as between the two countries. 

1 6 

For a history of the gardens at Prospect, see Frederic 

C. Rich, "Prospect: The Search for a Garden," The Princeton 
University Library Chronicle , XLII, Autumn 1980"^ pp~ 1-17 . 

Thorough accounts of the Graduate School controversy 
can be found in the following: Willard Thorp, Minor Meyers, 
Jr., and Jeremiah Stanton Finch, The Princeton Graduate School : 
A History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978); 
Andrew Fleming West, A Narrative of the Graduate College of 
Princeton University from its First Proposal in 18 96 Utrtil 
its Dedication in 1913 , ms . , 1929, pp. 1-117. Seeley G. 
Mudd Library , Princeton University. 

Articles from the Princeton Alumni Weekly and selections from 
the Letters of Wood row Wil_son, vols. 18 & 19, shed further 
light on the subject. It has been .said that it was due to 
the Graduate School controversy that Woodrow Wilson became 
President of the United States. When Wilson felt that his 
leadership had been weakened when he failed to convince the 
Board of Trustees of his positions on the Graduate School, 
he resigned the presidency of Princeton and entered political 
life. 

1 8 

The search for a house where the students could 

live and take their meals was suggested by trustee Grover 

Cleveland, who had retired to Princeton after his Presidency. 

In October 1904, Cleveland v;as elected Chairman of the 

Trustees' Committee on the Graduate School. 

Merwick was not secured until June 1905. While it was 

considered a possible site for the whole graduate complex, it 

was not widely favored because it was so removed from the 

campus. 

19 

At first, five sites were considered: the Olden 

Tract, Bayles Farm near Washington Read, the Armory site, the 
golf course and Merwick. President Wilson added a sixth, 
an on-campus site below Prospect, near the old sewer beds. 
It was later ruled out because it was considered unhealthy 
■and incapable of doing justice to such a grand complex. 
West, A Narrative of the Graduate College , pp. 35-36. 

20 

Cram, "The Architectural Development of the University," 

Princeton Club of New York, 5 December 1908, in Princeton 
Alumni Weekly, IX, December 9, 1908, p. 170. 



110 

21 

Cram had previously expressed his preference for the 

Prospect site in less widely read, yet still influential, 

places. One instance was in the form of a letter to E. W. 

Sheldon, President of the U. S. Trust Company, New York, N.Y., 

March 30, 1908. In this case. Cram poses his preference as 

a suggestion. The suggestion, however, was eight pages long 

and outlined the locations for the wings of the new school 

as they appeared in Exhibits 'A' and 'B' a week later at a 

trustees' meeting. Cram, Letter to Edward Wright Shelton, 

March 30, 1908, Graduate School Papers, Archives, 3eeley G. Mudd 

Library, Princeton University. 

Sheldon then wrote a letter to the trustees endorsing Cram's 

proposals. Edward Wright Sheldon, Letter to the Board of 

Trustees, April 9, 1908, in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 

ed. Arthur S. Link (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 

1966), pp. 247-50. 

22 

Because Cram did spend a goodly amount of time on 

the plans for the Graduate School long before the commission 
was his, evidence strongly indicates that he was campaigning 
for the job. It would appear that VJilson had asked Cram 
to draw up a scheme for the school's placement in Prospect, 
given that Cram had Exhibits 'A' and 'B' ready for a 
Trustee's meeting in April 1908. This chain of events is 
just one example of Cram's political savvy which he so often 
displayed at Princeton. There was no other school, hardly 
another commission, about which he wrote so glowingly. Cram 
saw the Graduate School as an instance in v/hich he would be 
able to realize his ideals for the transferral of English 
collegiate Gothic architecture and planning, in a similar 
intellectual climate, to this country. Cram was aware of 
the opportunities this commission presented, and worked hard 
to obtain it. 

23 

Thorp, Myers, and Finch, The Princeton Graduate School , 

pp. 114-15.^ 

24 

Dean West had supported and nurtured the Graduate 

School from its inception to its fruition. He had, from the 

outset, favored an off-campus site, and was responsible for 

securing the donations stipulating such a site. With a 

final bequest of $2 million from Isaac C. Wyman, Princeton 

Class of 1848, Wilson could no longer afford to oppose the 

plan. Regarding the Wyman money, Wilson said to West, "'You 

know how I set my face like flint against the site on the 

Golf Links. But the magnitude of the bequest alters the 

perspective.'" West, A Narrativ e , p. 108. 

To the Trustees, Wils"on said: "'Mr. Procter makes it a 

condition of his gift that the buildings of the Graduate School 

shall be placed upon the Golf Links. Strongly as my own 

judgment would dictate a different choice of site, the 



Ill 

expectations of irrmediate large development created by Mr, 
Wyman's bequest so alter the relative importance of the 
question of the position of the graduate college of resi- 
dence that I feel it to be my duty no longer to oppose in 
that matter what I now know to be the judgment of a majority 
of my colleagues in the Board.'" Ibid . , p. 111. Several 
months later, in the autumn of 1910, Wilson resigned the 
Presidency to be nominated for the New Jersey governorship. 

25 

Thorp, Myers, and Finch, The Princeton Graduate School, 

p. 154. ■ " 



26 

Thorp, Myers, and Finch, The Princeton Graduate School, 
p. 158^ 

Cram, Letter to Moses Taylor Pyne , June 27, 1911, 
Graduate School Papers, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton 
University, in Thorp, Myers and Finch, The Princeton 
Graduate School , p. 156. 

28 

"The Graduate College, Princeton University," Archi- 
tecture, 23, December 1913, p. 281. 

29 

Harold Thorp Carswell, "The Graduate College of 

Princeton University," The American Architect , 100, 25 

October 1911, p. 157. 

'Cram, My Life , p. 121. 

Ibid . , p . 122 . 

32 

Thorp, Myers, and Finch, The Princeton Graduate School , 

p. 160. Without notifying Cram, Dean West looked for a 
stained glass artist on his own, and selected Willet. Not 
until a year afterwards did Cram learn of this. Cram had 
selected Charles Connick for the work, and there ensued a 
fairly bitter struggle over the commission. Even though a 
committee was called in to decide, as were architects Frank 
Miles Day and M. D. Medary, the decision lay with the window's 
donor, Mr. Procter. Procter refused to pay for the window 
unless it was done by Willet. Connick was given the 
armorial medallions for the common room windows. Ibid . , 
pp. 160-52. 

The heraldic specialist was Pierre de la Chaignon 
la Rose, and the seven coats of arms were those of Carteret 
and Berkeley, royal proprietors of the colony. Sir Edmund 
Andros and William Livingston, Governors of New Jersey, 
and the arms of East Jersey, West Jersey and New Jersey. 
Tho>:p, Myers and Finch, The Princeton Graduate School , pp. 
162-63. 



112 

^^ Ibid . , p. 159. 

^^ Ibid . , p. 159. 

36 

"The Graduate College, Princeton University," 

Architecture , 28, December 1913, p. 283. 

37 

"Mr. Cram on Princeton's Architecture," Princeton 

Alumni Weekly , XIV, March 11, 1914, p. 456. 

38 

Douglass S. Tucci, Ralph Adams Cram: American 

Medievalist (Boston: Boston Public Library, 1975), p. 25. 

39 

Cram, My Life , p. 275. 

40 

President Hibben, "The Proposed New Chapel," Princeton 

Alumni Weekly, XXII, November 23, 1921, p. 175. 

41 

Cram, "The Chapel Site," Princeton Alumni Weekly, 

XXI, June 1, 1921, p. 792. 

42 

Hibben, '"The Proposed New Chapel,'' Princeton Alumni 

Weekly, XXII, November 23, 19.21, pp. 175, 179. 

43 

Cram and Frank Ferguson, "The Architects' Description 

of the Chapel Designs," Princeton Alumni Weekly, XXII, 

November 23, 1921, p. 179. The article strikes many familiar 

Cram themes: The Chapel "must be, in so far as this is 

attainable, a great and lasting example of religious art, 

linked with the highest standards of secular education. It 

cannot be a bare and mechanistic auditorium, it must 

unite itself with all the great traditions of Christian 

architecture and yet adapt itself to the changed conditions 

of the world. " 

44 

Tucci, Cram: American Medievalist , p. 36. 

45 

Cram, "Some Architectural and Spiritual Aspects of 

the Chapel," Princeton Alumni Weekly, XXVIII, Mav 

25, 1928, p. 988. 

46 

Ann Miner Daniel, The Early Ecclesiastical Architecture 

of Ralph Adams Cram , 1976, Ph. D. dissertation. University 

of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, p. 203. 

"^^ Ibid . , p. 147. 

48 

Cram and Ferguson, "The Architects' Description," 

Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXII, November 23, 1921, pp. 180-81. 

49 

For fuller descriptions of the windows and other 

memorials, see Richard Stillwell , The Chapel of Princeton 

University (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 

129pp. 



112 
^'^Ibid., p. 159. 

'^^ Ibid . , p. 159. 

35 

"The Graduate College, Princeton University," 

Architecture , 28, December 1913, p. 283. 

"Mr. Cram on Princeton's Architecture," Princeton 
Alumni Weekly , XIV, March 11, 1914, p. 456. 

38 

Douglass S. Tucci, Ralph Adams Cram : American 

Medievalist (Boston: Boston Public Library, 1975) , p7 25. 

39 

Cram, My Life , p. 27 5. 

40 

President Hibben, "The Proposed New Chapel," Princeton 

Alumni Weekly , XXII, November 23, 1921, p. 175. 

41 

Cram, "The Chapel Site," Princeton Alumni Weekly, 

XXI, June 1, 1921, p. 792. 

42 

Hibben, -"The Proposed New Chapel,'' Princeton Alumni 

Weekly, XXII, November 23, 1921, pp. 175, 179. 

43 

Cram and Frank Ferguson, "The Architects' Description 

of the Chapel Designs," Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXII, 

November 23, 1921, p. 179. The article strikes many familiar 

Cram themes: The Chapel "must be, in so far as this is 

attainable, a great and lasting example of religious art, 

linked with the highest standards of secular education. It 

cannot be a bare and mechanistic auditorium, it must 

unite itself with all the great traditions of Christian 

architecture and yet adapt itself to the changed conditions 

of the world. " 

44 

Tucci, Cram: American Medievalist , p. 36. 

45 

Cram, "Some Architectural and Spiritual Aspects of 

the Chapel," Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXVIII, Mav 

25, 1928, p. 988. 

46 

Ann Miner Daniel, The Early Ecclesiastical Architecture 

of Ralph Adams Cram , 1976, Ph. D. dissertation. University 

of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, p. 203. 

47 

Ibid . , p. 147. 

48 

Cram and Ferguson, "The Architects' Description," 

Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXII, November 23, 1921, pp. 180-81. 

49 

For fuller descriptions of the windows and other 

memorials, see Richard Stillwell, The Chapel of Princeton 

University (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 

129pp. 



113 

Princeton University file, Department of Prints 
and Photographs, Boston Public Library. 

"^Cram and Ferguson, "The Architects' Description," 
Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXII, November 23, 1921, p. 179. 

52 

Varnum Lansing Collins, Letter to S. F. Rothschild, 

January 25, 1929, p. 2. Rothschild Arch File, University 
Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, (hereafter 
cited as Archives), Princeton University. 

S3 

Cram, Letter to Pres. John G. Hibben, March 25, 1929, 

Rothschild Arch File,, Archives , Princeton University. 

54 

John G. Hibben, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, March 

25, 1929, 2 pp., Rothschild Arch File^ Archives , Princeton 

University. 

Cram, Letter to John G. Hibben, March 29, 1929, p. 
1, Archives, Princeton University. 

5 6 

Simon F. Rothschild, Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 

September 30, 1929, Rothschild Arch File, Archives, Princeton 

University. 

The contractor • was Matthews Construction Company of 

Princeton, who had built the Graduate College and Chapel, 

as well as numerous other works. 

57 

"Dedication of Memorial Archway," Princeton Alumni 

Weekly , XXX, July 2, 1930, p. 961. 

5 1 

Cram, Letter to John G. Hibben, March 29, 1929, p. 1. 

59 

Cram, Mv Life , p. 118. 

60 

Untitled, Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXV, October 8, 

1924, p. 30. 

^■^Cram, My Life, p. 24 2. 



Conclusion 

William B. Rhoads , The Colonial Revival, Diss., 
Princeton 1974 (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1977), 
Vol. I, p. 423. 

2 

Cram, The Substance of Gothic (Boston: Marshall Jones 

Company, 1917), p. 24. 



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Tolles, Bryant F., Jr. "College Architecture in Mew England 
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103, March 1973, pp. 502-09. 

Trowbridge, S. B. P. "Architecture of the Small College," 
The American Architect, 119, 8 June 1921, p. 614. 



120 

Untitled. Princeton Alumni Weekly , VIII, 1 April 1908, p. 419 

Untitled. Princeton Alumni Weekly , XXV, 8 October 1924, p. 30 

Willard, Ashton R. "The Development of College Architecture 
in America." The New England Magazine , 22, July 1897, 
pp. 513-34. 



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Plate ^6. Rothschild Arch, Princeton University. 





DATE DUE 




Dli" ' ' 


■' ' ■J 






JAN 14 


1985 






FEB ff 


1986 






















































































































































GAVLORO 






PRINTED INU.S A. 



j 720. 973-C889L2 ^^008S 



architect "" 



Date due 



1^ 



m^^_ 




BORROWER S NAME 



H^<=^-^ <P ,>^ cT" / A /^ 



Archives 
720.973-C889L2 
Lanford, Sarah Drumond 



LIBRARY 
SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE 

SWEET BRIAR, VIRGINIA 24595 



i3i)ims